The short answer is it depends on whether you are going to put on your big boy pants and deal with any pain or just go running home to mommy.
Totally joking here… to an extent. Because your tolerance for pain is one factor that goes into answering the question of whether gum grafting hurts or not.
But that is a totally unhelpful answer so let’s get serious for a minute and answer it in a little more detail.
What is a Gum Graft?
First, gum grafting is a surgical procedure used to treat severe cases of gum recession (this is when the gums pull away from the tooth potentially exposing the tooth root which can lead to all sorts of nastiness).
In a gum graft, a flap of skin/tissue is taken from inside the mouth (called the palate) and then used to fill in the gaps, so to speak, where gum recession is occurring.
The surgery is commonly performed by a cosmetic dentist or periodontist.
Since gum grafting is a surgery, it’s not as enjoyable as, say, playing with puppies or dancing through a field of wildflowers.
Types of Gum Graft Procedures
How much it hurts, however, depends on the type of gum graft procedure you have done.
If no tissue removed from your palate, chances are you will experience little to no pain from your gum graft surgery.
If you do have tissue removed, then the recovery won’t be a walk in the park. Don’t worry… it won’t be too bad though. Most likely you’ll have some discomfort for a few days following the surgery. The pain has been described as feeling like you got a “major pizza burn”. But it does heal quickly so this is not something you’ll be dealing with for long.
How To Keep Any Pain in Check
To help keep the pain in check it’s often recommended you use over the counter anti-inflammatories or prescription pain meds. While not necessarily backed up by science, eating a lot of ice cream (or yogurt if you want to be healthy and all) might also help you cope with some discomfort.
Another option to keep the pain away is to have your dentist or periodontist put a surgical stent over the part of your mouth where the tissue was taken from. This keeps the area protected after the surgery and reduces the chances that food, drink or something else may agitate the site and cause pain.
As far as any pain you may experience during the surgery, you’ll have a few options to help keep the pain at bay.
Basically you can remain consciously sedated (either through gas or oral meds) so you don’t feel much, if anything, that’s going on in your mouth. Or, you can go for IV sedation and be totally knocked out during the procedure.
Part of this decision of which option makes the most sense for you comes down to cost. IV sedation will cost more than the other options.
And part of the decision is really as much about your level of anxiety as it is about mitigating the pain.
Does Gum Grafting Hurt?
So, does gum grafting hurt? Yes, it can hurt a bit. But the pain is relatively short term and there are a number of options that will help reduce or eliminate any pain caused by gum graft surgery.
If you have specific questions about your situation and whether a gum graft makes sense for you, your best bet is to find a cosmetic dentist or periodontist near you that specializes in gum grafting. To find one near you, search our listings here.