Dentistry/Gum graft


Gum graft
Gum graft  
I had a gum graft above teeth 9 and 10 because I had tooth 10 extracted.   At that time, a year ago, I also had a bone graft in hopes to do an implant.  Unfortunately I did not develop enough bone to do an implant.  I now have a bridge.  Due to the severity of infection of tooth 10 on extraction, some gum tissue was removed leaving a very uneven gum line.  I had a gum graft to help even up the gum line.  The grafting material was from a donor.  It has been two weeks, and each day it seems to be getting whiter/yellowish where the graft site was.  Is this normal, or is it failing? Thank you

ANSWER: Dear Michelle,

Based on the photo you provided, the graft appears to be infected and failing.  Contact your surgeon asap and make sure that he/she gets a look at this.

Please let me know the result.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I went in on Wed.  To the surgeon.  They said it looked "angry", which could be normal, with this large of a graft area, and put me on 500mg amoxicillin.  Now They are out of town until January 4; I am also out of town, which is why I am trying this route.  This was a large graft-they inserted tissue under my gums, and around teeth 9 and 10(I have a bridge on teeth 8,9, 10) .  My surgeon told me when I had the procedure, it would turn white, and smell yucky.  Because it was possibly infected, does than mean failure?  Is there any chance it will take?  Today the swelling is down.  If the graft is not taking, what generally is the next step...What should I be looking for, will the white spread?  Will it slough off? I hate to go into an emergency facility where I am, as it is very rural, and not sure they can do much.Thank you for your time in this matter and any helpful information you may give me.

Slow down.  I know your concerned.  If you've been given antibiotic last Wednesday and the swelling is down today, there's now a better chance that it will take.  Probably 50/50.  Nothing else to do but stay away from the grafted area.  Soft diet is safer.  If you brush the teeth in this area, make sure the brush is extra soft, and that it does not hit the newly grafted tissue.   No flossing there either.  

If you had a skin graft, they would place an appropriate bandage over the grafted area to protect it.  In the mouth, we can't yet do that.  Bandaids won't stick.  The old gum packing that we used to use back in the bad old days would burn the tissue and trap food particles which would lead to infections and bad smells.  So for right now, we have to depend on you to leave it alone and don't disturb the area.  That's all we've got now, sad to say.

Better grafting methods are on the horizon, but not yet approved.

Let me know how you do.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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