I'm drooling, lying on the couch, eating a liquidy black bean soup, watching CSI: Miami on Netflix while the left side of my mouth is completely & utterly numb. How did it get here? Why is saliva falling out of my mouth? What's going on? Well, let me fill you in. Wondering about the gingivectomy recovery experience? How bad is the gingivectomy pain? Keep reading. 

DAMN YOU WISDOM TEETH! There I said it. Some of you may have experienced a wisdom teeth extraction. It's a pretty standard procedure to get them taken out since many of us don't have enough room in our mouths to keep them. If you do, you're lucky! The wisdom teeth are technically your third & final set of molars; they usually pop up in your teens & 20s. 

I got my wisdom teeth removed in 2013. I had three of them. My recovery was relatively easy. Of course, there was a bit of discomfort & some aching. I slurped on some soft foods & liquids, relaxed & let it all heal. There were no issues. Now fast forward three years. I'm not a doctor, so don't take this as medical advice. It's just my own gingivectomy recovery experience.

What is a gingivectomy? 

The gum tissue where my wisdom teeth were & my current molars are decided to heal up stupidly, causing infections & other issues. My dentist recommended getting the extra gum tissue or deep pockets removed. So I did. The surgery is called a gingivectomy, where excess gum tissue is removed to reduce diseased tissue & pockets that trap bacteria in the deep pockets. It is a surgical gum disease treatment. I split the gingivectomy procedure into two procedures because it was more most cost-effective through insurance. I already did my right side a couple months ago. Now for my left side.

Depending on the severity, your gingivectomy procedure may include major gum removal or reshaping the gum line. It may take several visits to the oral surgeon / dentist office. Your dentist may use local anesthesia to numb the area. 

Gingivectomy Procedure Survival Kit

You'll need:
- Neosporin
- Q-Tips
- Face Ice Pack
- Soup
- Advil &/or Tylenol
- Reading pillow
- Aura Cacia Chill Pill essential oil blend


What can I expect after a Gingivectomy?

Day 1: Gum Tissue Removal

The procedure took about an hour to remove gum tissue. They applied a topical numbing cream & then injected me with something to ensure my gums were totally senseless. No pain. All I felt was a slight pinch. I was awake during the procedure & kept my eyes closed most of the time. That's the beauty of local anesthesia. It's pretty freaky to open your eyes & watch people with a scalpel hack away in your mouth's gum tissue. I could feel the slight discomfort & tension of the scalpel on my teeth as they removed excess gums. Mine used a scalpel, but your surgical procedure might use a laser to remove loose gum tissue. 

Now I'm lying in bed eating soup & avoiding chewing anything on my left side. My mouth is still numb but the feeling will go away in a couple hours. Today is all about icing my mouth & just resting & recuperating. The healing time for the gingivectomy procedure took a couple weeks. Soft foods for the next few days. For a surgical gum disease treatment, it didn't take too long.

Day 2

For the first 24 hours after the operation, I'm supposed to ice my left cheek with an ice pack for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. I didn't strictly follow this. Every four to six hours, I took two Advil & a Tylenol as ordered. I followed the pain-relieving guidelines after my numbness subsided & the aching came through. Some facial swelling. At night, instead of taking the Advil/Tylenol combination, I took two Tylenol PMs. Always read the label!

Oh my lord. My jaw is sore. I can open barely my mouth to a third of its capacity. So much discomfort it feels like someone sucker punched me in the face a few times. Rinse with a solution of warm salt water every 6 hours, or follow doctor's orders.

FYI: During my first procedure I received a cut right at the corner of my mouth/lips during the stitching part. Apparently, this is called angular cheilitis; thanks for the info Google. Any movement seemed to open the wound & keep it cracked. My advice to you is to specifically request for them to lubricate your mouth & lips to avoid this error in the future. I asked for Vaseline twice during my second procedure & this absolutely helped.

Since I woke up with an incredibly sore mouth, I did the Advil/Tylenol combination & iced my cheek. I felt better after a couple of hours. Today I'm supposed to do a warm saltwater rinse instead of the 15-minute icing intervals. I did a rinse in the morning & in the afternoon.


Day 3

I didn't take any pain medication today. I'm a little sore but nothing I can't survive. I'm sticking to mashed foods, soft foods, liquids, & soups because I can't chew on my left side. The foods & liquids are not delicious but what can you do when you're in pain?

Day 4

My gums are doing well. I did a saltwater rinse. Even though I'm not actively trying, I can feel the stitches in my mouth. As ordered, I've been using the Peridex solution every day & night on the gums rather than brushing them. Other than that I brush my teeth as usual, simply avoiding the affected area. Same foods & liquids. Can't wait to eat real food.

Day 5

My mouth & gums barely hurt at all, no pain! Yay! I can somewhat chew & eat.

Day 6

My stitches are coming out. My jaw feels funky though. I think it's a bit sore from being open during the procedure & having to exclusively eat with my right side.

Days 7 - 10

Everything is almost back to normal. Healing well. There's only a mild sensation of awkwardness in my jaw & gums.

Day 14

I feel back to normal. I visited the periodontist today & he said everything looks great. There's a bit of swelling & healing left, so he wants me to come back in two weeks. My tip to those who are getting a gingivectomy surgery: if you're healing well, schedule your checkup 3 - 4 weeks from your initial procedure to allow time to heal, so you don't have to keep come in multiple for a 5 minute check up. 


Day 21

I came in again & my periodontist said everything looks great & my gums are healing appropriately. He wants me to visit for a final check-up in six weeks. 

Day 32

I went to the dentist today & the dental hygienist could tell which side was most recently done. I obviously can't see that far into my mouth. It's interesting that although I don't feel any particular discomfort, it's evident that the tissues inside my mouth take time to recuperate 100%.

Final Thoughts: Gingivectomy for Gum Disease

Oral hygiene can help prevent gum disease, bleeding gums, tooth decay, etc. I hope this helps anyone who's considering a gingivectomy surgery. At the time, everything felt sore & achy & I couldn't wait for that feeling to go away. Now I can feel a big difference in my mouth & know it's going to help my gums & teeth in the long run. The gingivectomy recovery was tough but not horrible. If you have any problems,  immediately call your doctor. Make sure to follow-up with your dentist during the recovery. The gingivectomy pain level wasn't too horrendous and got better.

Follow your pre & post-operative instructions. At the time of this surgical procedure, it was covered by insurance but it can range by age. Ask your doctor/oral surgeon if you have any questions or experience any issues.

Have you had your wisdom teeth removed? :]

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