What Is a Gum Graft?
A gum graft is a periodontal procedure which is used to treat receding gums. There are many different options for treating gum recession, but gum grafting is the most tried and true solution for severe recession, especially if there’s just one or two areas affected. The technical term for a gum graft is “subepithelial connective tissue grafting,” or just simply, a “connective tissue graft.” This procedure involves removing some of the tissue from underneath your gums on the roof of the mouth and placing it over the area of recession. The graft grows together with the remaining gum in the affected area, blending perfectly and permanently thickening and strengthening the gum attachment to the exposed root. If several teeth are affected, procedures like the Pinhole Procedure can also repair the receding gum line, without grafting if it is caught early.
What Is Gum Recession?
Gum recession, or “gingival recession” is a condition where the attachment of the gum to your tooth’s root is so weak that is dissolves away, exposing the sensitive root surfaces your tooth. Reversing gum recession is not just a cosmetic concern. Root exposure can sometimes be very sensitive and increases the risk of cavities along the gum line, and may even cause bone loss or tooth loosening. Like many things, the best time to receive treatment for gum recession is early on in the process, before it progresses in severity. In most cases, gum grafting can easily repair the problem and help prevent additional recession and bone loss.
Why Do Gums Recede?
Our gums can recede for a number of reasons, including periodontal disease. One of the most common causes of gum recession is having naturally thin, weak gums to begin with. In these cases even just regular brushing can be too traumatic for the gum tissue, irritating the area, causing the gum attachment to begin breaking down. Recession can occur on a single tooth or several teeth, and often progresses throughout one’s life.
Who Is a Candidate For Gum Grafting?
Gum recession can occur at any age, sometimes beginning even as a teenager! Most patients are candidates for gum grafting but it is important to complete a thorough evaluation to check for any health condition, medications, or even supplements that may increase your risk of complications. Our doctors at Perio Health Professionals will thoroughly review your medical history during your consultation to identify any potential problems and ensure a successful outcome.
What is Gum Grafting Recovery Like?
The procedure is completed with local anesthetic, making sure that the area being treated is thoroughly numb before beginning. Even though we will ensure that you will not experience any pain during the procedure, some patients like the peace of mind offered by sedation. We utilize the most current techniques to complete the procedure, including the use of growth factors like Emdogain to accelerate healing and minimize discomfort during the healing process. Patients experience very minimal discomfort afterwards with very little down time. Most patients need nothing more than everyday ibuprofen (advil) for a few days afterwards, although stronger pain medications are available if desired. Also, there is no need for a liquid diet as patients are encouraged to eat as soon as the numbing agent has begun to wear off. Detailed post-operative instructions are reviewed prior to the procedure, like avoiding brushing or chewing on the area for a few weeks afterwards. The helpful doctors and team at Perio Health Professionals are readily available before and after your procedure to help ease your concerns and help ensure minimal discomfort and a rapid recovery. Your comfort is our top priority!
In most cases, gum grafting can repair the problem, restore your smile and help prevent additional recession and bone loss. There are many types of gum grafts, including using your own gum tissue from another area of your mouth or utilizing donor tissue which has been thoroughly screened and tested to ensure your safety. There are also many different surgical techniques that have been developed for different unique situations, including root coverage procedures without any graft at all! During your consultation, we will perform a comprehensive examination to diagnose your unique circumstance, discuss all your treatment options, work with you to treat your current condition and help you maintain your newly restored smile.