Does tissue grafting hurt?
A majority of patients that require some type of soft tissue graft ask the question “Does tissue grafting hurt?”, and a majority of these patients already have a preconceived notion that it does. This is due to patients asking friends and family the same question that have had a similar procedure in the past. Approximately 71% of patients report some anxiety and fear when anticipating any type of periodontal surgery. Studies have reported that increased anxiety is directly related to the amount of pain that a patient perceives. Therefore, I recommend and offer sedation by multiple techniques (Gas, Oral, & I.V). Sedating my patients allows me to reduce their anxiety, therefore decreasing the severity of pain that my patients perceive. A majority of patients report that soft tissue grafting procedures only produce a minimal amount of pain post surgery. The minority of patients that report severe pain, always talk about the hard palate where the graft tissue was harvested. This makes sense because of the area being a surgical site open to the oral cavity. Therefore, any time the patient agitates the surgical site by eating or drinking, a pain response is perceived. This is why soft tissue grafting utilizing donor tissue has become a popular choice among Periodontists and patients. To overcome this issue, I fabricate a surgical stent that covers the hard palate. This is only required when the situation calls for the patients tissue to be harvested. Typically, this is due to increased predictability and better long term results. The surgical stent covers the surgical area, therefore eliminating agitation of the site. My patients have reported significant decrease in pain perception due this surgical stent. In conclusion, does tissue grafting hurt? The answer is yes, but with some extra care, my patients experience a very manageable amount of perceived pain.