Have you ever heard of gum grafting before? If not, but your dentist has recommended it, don’t fret!
Gum grafting is a relatively quick and straightforward dental surgery done to correct gum recession. Some people also do it for cosmetic reasons, such as improving the appearance of their smiles. Gum recession refers to when the gum tissue around teeth pulls or wears away, leaving them exposed at their root.
Receding gums are a common dental problem that affects between 4 and 12 percent of all adults. It’s easy for the issue to go unnoticed for an extended period because it’s a gradual process. But in the long-term, it may result in increased tooth sensitivity, as well as tooth loss if left untreated.
If your dentist notices that you have a receding gum line, they may recommend a gum graft to correct the situation. Here’s what to expect with the procedure:
Gum Grafting Options
There are three types of gum tissue grafts that your dentist can choose to perform on you. The procedure they use depends on the extent of your gum recession or your cosmetic needs. They will discuss all the available options with you to decide on the most suitable choice.
The three methods of gum graft procedures include:
- Connective tissue grafts: In this procedure, the periodontist makes a cut on the roof of your mouth and takes tissue from underneath the top layer. They then stitch this tissue on to the receding gum to cover the exposed tooth. After obtaining enough tissue, they stitch up the donor site.
- Free gingival grafts: If you have a thin gum line, your dentist may choose this surgery option to enlarge your gums. In this procedure, the periodontist also takes tissue from the roof of your mouth and stitches it in the area where corrective surgery is being done. However, they don’t cut the top layer to obtain tissue, but instead get it directly from the mouth’s roof.
- Pedicle (lateral) grafts: If you have a lot of gum tissue around the receding gum line, the dentist may opt for this option. In this procedure, they obtain tissue from the area around the site that needs treatment. They only make a small cut on the donor site (pedicle) and keep one edge attached. They then stretch the gum tissue to cover the exposed area before sewing it into place.
You can expect to experience some minor discomfort as is normal with any surgery. The dentist may prescribe some pain relievers and other medications to help manage the discomfort.
The healing process is fast and often takes less than two weeks. It’s good to avoid disturbing the site of surgery for healing to occur sooner. This includes avoiding brushing or flossing on the site, not eating hard foods, and avoiding hot items as well as smoking.
Your doctor may request that you have a follow-up checkup to inspect your healing progress.
Do You Need Gum Grafting?
If you have a receding gum line, then you most likely need gum grafting. Schedule an appointment with a periodontist to inspect your teeth and gums and determine if you have gum recession.
Find a professional dentist near you today!