Does Gum Grafting Hurt?

Does Gum Grafting Hurt?

The actual surgical procedure should not hurt at all.  Your surgeon will sedate you if necessary.  That way you can go to sleep and not remember anything about the procedure.  Also even if you’re not sedated, your surgeon will numb the area so you do not feel anything throughout the procedure.  


Most questions regarding pain from gum grafting are in regards to the pain after the procedure.  Pain levels from gum grafting vary significantly with the type of gum grafting procedure.  You can experience pain from both the graft donor site (roof of the mouth) and graft recipient site (teeth you’re fixing).  There are several types of gum grafting procedures.  They are:

  1.  Free gingival graft – this procedure is definitely more painful.  Many patients will say it’s about a 6-7 out of 10 on a 1-10 pain scale.  The reason it’s more painful is that they harvest the donor tissue from the surface of the roof of the mouth.  This leaves the underlying gum tissues completely exposed and therefore in pain.
  2. Connective tissue grafting – this procedure is significantly less painful than a free gingival graft.  Many will say it is a 1 or 2 out of 10 on a 1-10 pain scale.  The reason why it’s not as painful is that your surgeon will collect the middle layer from the roof of the mouth and suture close the surface layer to leave nothing exposed.
  3. Gum graft donor tissue gum graft (alloderm) or pinhole procedure – the alloderm or pinhole procedure are both very similar in regards to pain.  Both procedures use gum graft donor tissue so you don’t need to harvest tissue from the roof of your mouth.

As you can see gum grafting pain typically comes from the roof of the mouth.  This pain can be avoided by using gum graft donor tissue.  Although most of the pain comes from the roof of the mouth, you can also experience pain from the graft recipient site (the area you’re trying to fix).  

  1.  Free gingival graft – similarly to the donor site (roof of the mouth) your recipient site will hurt more than the connective tissue grafting or alloderm or pinhole procedure.  The reason is that the incision design is different from this type of procedure than the others.
  2. Connective tissue grafting and alloderm or pinhole procedure – these will all experience minimal pain at the graft recipient site.  The reason is a minimally invasive technique is typically used to avoid an incision at the graft recipient site.


In summary:

  1.  Most of the pain comes during your recovery.  Typically the free gingival graft is associated with the most pain.  Most of the pain comes from the roof of the mouth and some also from the teeth area you are grafting.
  2. The connective tissue graft has minimal pain from the roof of the mouth and hardly any pain from the teeth area you are grafting.
  3. Using gum graft donor tissue or a pinhole technique allows you to have minimal discomfort in a gum graft procedure.
  4. Pain during the surgery should be minimal if you even feel anything at all.  The worst part is the numbing.  IV sedation is advised if you’re nervous because you won’t remember anything

Gum Graft Failure

Gum Grafting Failure

AlloDerm Gum Graft

Alloderm Gum Grafting

Gum Graft Recovery

Gum Grafting Recovery