Oral surgery (graft): nutrition before and after?

Hey all,
I have an oral operation one week from today. I am having a gum graft along my entire lower jaw to…keep my teeth from falling out (almost literally, and yes, I have the worst teeth in the world :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).
Races are over and the weather is setting in, so I’m obviously taking that as my off season for 2-3 weeks.
Eating and drinking will obviously be an issue for a while.
I’m coming off a long, hard season and going right into the operation. I’m wondering if anyone has any nutritional advice for the time before and after the procedure? I’m not sure what I will be able to eat and when, and worried that not being able to eat well will wreck my body instead of recovering. On the other hand, I’m equally concerned that if I can only eat ice cream I will have an equally bad impact on my health.
Anyone have an oral procedure like this? And if so, how did you handle nutrition? Cheers!

This would be a great example of those nutrition shakes to make sure you are getting the things you need in an easy to consume way. I would assume other soft foods like applesauce and such. the hard part will be protein which those shakes will take care of.

Yeah, shakes and the like are probably a good bet. But I have no idea how long to expect recovery to take. I’m concerned that just living off of shakes will have a major negative impact on my fitness. The offseason is supposed to be the time to recharge and recover, and I’m hoping it doesn’t wind up putting me in a deeper hole

I hope you’ll report back. I suspect I’ll be needing similar surgery in due course so interested in the process/outcomes.


Hey I had this done TWICE. Not as much as you it sounds like.

I really don’t recall the nutrition at all - I know I was riding/racing a lot at that time in my life. If you are using cadaver skin/tissue its one problem. If you are taking your own tissue this is going to hurt and be harder.

The graft for me was covered with silly puddy for a few weeks - that meant I could eat almost anything just used half the mouth and smaller pieces going in.

I do recall why the first one didn’t take, and that was from too aggressively brushing and using it once the puddy came off. So be careful opening bottles with your teeth.

Wait, so you’re saying that I need to give up my tin foil chewing habit? What am I supposed to do instead? I guess it’s back to gargling rocks to pass the time…
Unfortunately they are taking the tissue from my mouth, so I will be wearing a retainer thing to protect the roof of my mouth since that’s where it’s coming from.
@Scheherazade that’s not a bad idea too update this thread throughout the process. I will try and make a note to check in regularly after I get it next week.


oooffff…not to be that guy - but prioritize healing over riding for a few days. you’ll do better in the long run doing it that way IMHO.

Now - actual tip you can use. Try athletic greens. While its not a meal replacement type of drink - its good for you and I’ve noticed a lot of small improvements from it.

Not going to ride at all. October is usually my off season anyway, so I’m timing it to begin on the day of surgery. I will look at the greens though, good tip!

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It’s 2-3 weeks, you can’t do that much damage in that short of time. Sure, you’ll lose some fitness, but it’s not like you’ll be going back to zero, It also comes back pretty quickly.

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For those that were interested, here is my first update.
It’s about 1 pm. I had the procedure done at 845 this morning. I did not have the anesthesia they offered. The procedure itself was uncomfortable, but the numbing agents meant I didn’t feel much, only tastes blood.
They took a thumb sized strip from the top of my mouth for my lower jaw. They gave me a clear retainer that covers my entire upper mouth to protect where they so lovingly put it, “harvested” my gum tissue. I have stitches on my lower jaw for the new guns.
I am officially starting my off season today, but I rode hard last week and went for a 13 mile hike up to 11000 feet yesterday, so my fatigue and hunger are still “training level”. I waited for the numbness to wear off and had a spinach/carrot smoothie (homemade) and peanut butter smoothie from Roxberry. I can feel everything now and I made the mistake of getting water on my lower gums…eye watering pain.
If I put drinks and food farther back in my mouth the pain isn’t as bad since it misses the gums and hits the retainer.
The doc said no exercise for a few days, which is fine because off season and my legs are sore from the hike. I’m not eager to eat anyy, but at least the first experience wasn’t miserable, so I’m hoping it won’t be terrible. Soup is on the menu for dinner with a protein shake for a snack
.the biggest issue now is the constant bleeding (normal btw) from the gaping hole in the roof of my mouth. I will give regular updates as necessary, but if anyone has questions or advice, let me know :stuck_out_tongue:
Here’s the hike by the way

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By anesthesia, do you mean they offered to put you under and you stayed awake with local instead?

The pain of water on your lower gums reminds me of my first swallows of water after my wisdom tooth removal surgery. :sob:

Yeah, they offered to full on sleep me :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I hate the feeling after though, so opted for giggle gas and local.
This is bad, but I had both my sinuses drilled out and tonsils removed in one go a few years ago…that was the worst two weeks of my life.

That’s reassuring that they can do it without putting you under. I get terrible nausea from the drugs they use to do that so the option of being able to avoid it would be nice.

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Holy s**t! And I thought I was having a bad day with a slight headache and runny nose. I need to HTFU.

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Just tried to eat dinner and almost wound up hyperventilating as I ate lol. It’s hard to keep a liquid in one tiny part of your mouth, and when anything hit the front stitches, I was gasping in pain. So note to self (and anyone else getting a big one done). Nothing even remotely solid, but keep it cold and thick to keep it tamed better.
Overall feel okay, but haven’t had any energy. Looking forward to not training for a while :stuck_out_tongue:

Does anyone have any ideas for how I can keep ice/an ice pack on my face and jaw without having to either hold it by hand or lay on my side?

Yes, take a scarf, use it to wrap the ice pack to your jaw by going under your chin and over your head. Will try and find a picture to PM you.

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48 hour update. Last night while brushing three of my teeth (because I can only brush and select areas lol) I rinsed my mouth and felt something weird. When I spit, a massive black and red chunk of dried blood and whatnot flew into the sink. It was slightly larger than a quarter if it was elongated, and about a quarter inch thick. I’m glad it is spooky season, because it was one of the grossest looking things I’ve ever seen. Turns out it was part of the dried blood in coagulant on the roof of my mouth. Thankfully it was actually a good thing, because now the skin can heal and it did not bleed after.
My lower jaw is more swollen today than it was before, but thanks to my upper jaw healing I can eat a little bit better today.
I can tell I am losing a little bit of weight though, so I am really going to step up my protein intake today so that I do not take a huge hit in my performance when I start riding again. I am trying my best to eat enough, but when a bowl of soup takes an hour to eat, it’s hard.
As things improve over the next days I plan to make sure any plenty so that I don’t have any lasting effects or really see myself going to a deficit. Starting this morning I’m going to be a lot more mindful and intentional about protein intake since I am losing a little weight.

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Impressive story :sweat_smile: wish you a well and quick recovery.

Will follow this topic, because i have an upcoming tonsillectomy (my first surgery !!), and i am doing research at what to eat after, to maintain my kcal intake a little bit and what to expect to start training again.

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