Friday, July 16, 2010

Not for the Faint of Heart, and Mostly Unrelated to Cycling

My gumline pre-surgery.

OK, this is not remotely cycling related. Even I, who sometimes go into extreme contortions to make a cycling connection, cannot. I went to my dentist and he told me my gum recession had progressed to such a degree that I needed gum grafting. Or so he figured. So he referred me to my periodontist, Er-Jia Mao, DDS, MS, PhD.

I really liked Doctor Mao, and if you're looking for a periodontist--and who isn't, right?--I'd go see him.

For me, hard brushing and perhaps genetics left me with two spots that needed grafts. So I had a choice. Doctor Mao could "harvest" skin for the graft from the room of my mouth which he indicated was extra painful, or I could use "other" skin. By "other", he meant that it was "harvested" from a cadaver.

HOLD THE PRESSES! I did find a cycling connection after all. Much as I am not particularly a Lance Armstrong fan, his LiveStrong website does indeed talk about gum disease, so there! But just for the record if you check out that site, my surgery wasn't cosmetic, it was so I don't lose my teeth.

Another pre-surgery shot.

My cadaver donor skin before it became my skin.

Doc Mao peeled my gums back to insert the cadaver skin...

and no, it didn't hurt.

Here's my new gumline a couple months later, and do note the fence, as Doctor Mao likes to call it. It is the ridge that will prevent further erosion. He really liked the looks of this, and therefore, so do I.

Another nice graft, though with the crown it can never quite be as good as it is on one's own God-given ivories.

Thanks, Doctor Mao!

Keep it smilin'!



  1. love this entry (not so much looking at the pictures -- scary -- but i'll take your word for it not hurting!)

    so glad you found a connection to cycling!

  2. I've had a couple of skin grafts done for the same reason - receding gums - but the skin was taken from the roof of my mouth. Actual process wasn't terrible, but you are limited to soft foods like yogurt or jello for a few days. Moist tea bags are helpful to put up there.

  3. Yea, plus your way the cadaver doesn't suffer!