What Are Gum Grafts?
Gum grafts, or gum grafting, are a type of surgical procedure to move healthy gum or soft tissue from one part of the mouth to another. Typically tissue is moved from where there is an abundance of tissue (like the roof of the mouth) to a part where tissue is lacking or receding.
Gum grafting can be used for both functional or cosmetic reasons. One functional reason could be to treat gum recession, or when the gum tissue begins to wear away and expose more of the tooth at the root. Receding gums may cause increased tooth sensitivity, especially when consuming hot or cold food and drinks. Many people do not realize their gums are receding because it tends to happen slowly. Gum recession could lead to tooth loss eventually if left untreated. A cosmetic reason for a gum graft would be to have a better smile. If teeth appear to be too large, a gum graft could be used to cover part of the teeth to cover them.
What is the Purpose of a Gum Graft?
Gum grafting is a type periodontal surgery which moves healthy gum tissue from one area of the mouth to another area which needs it. While it is considered a surgery it is very common for people with or helps with:
- Thin gums
- Receding Gums
How To Prepare
Before your gum graft surgery, an evaluation and overview with Dr. Kim will be discussed to prepare for the procedure…
- A comprehensive dental exam will be done including dental X-rays taken and models made of your teeth and mouth. You also may need a special type of computed tomography (CT) scan, that will allow the dentist to accurately measure the height and width of your existing bone to evaluate the health of your teeth and jaw bone.
- Treatment plan. 212 Smiling will tailor a treatment plan to account all factors of the procedure. If the surgery is invasive we will take into account the factors and the procedure with a timely thought out plan. This will include a walkthrough of the procedure, a step by sept treatment guide and a follow up an appointment if needed.
Make sure to tell your doctor about any medical conditions and any medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements. If you have heart conditions or orthopedic implants, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before surgery to help prevent infection.
Anesthesia may be used to control the pain during your procedure. The 212 Smiling team will instruct you about eating and drinking before surgery, depending on the type of anesthesia. If general anesthesia is used, someone will have to assist you home after surgery and expect to rest for the day.
What Can You Expect
Gum grafting is a type periodontal surgery which moves healthy gum tissue from one area of the mouth to another area which needs it. Your periodontist can perform one of three types of gum graft:
Free Gingival Graft
The periodontist extracts tissue from the roof of your mouth and then attaches the tissue to the area that needs it. Patients with thin gums typically require this treatment to prevent the gums from receding further. Different techniques and methods are available and may differ for each case. In general, it is still the gold standard to use your own tissue. However, there are xenograft (tissue from animals) and allograft (tissue from same species) option available.
Connective Tissue Graft
The periodontist opens a small flap in the roof of your mouth and removes a piece of connective tissue from under the top layer of tissue. They then attach this tissue with stitches to the area that needs the tissue. Connective tissue graft is the most common periodontal graft.
The periodontist makes a tissue flap from the area immediately next to the area of gum recession and then covers the area of receding tissue with it. Because this type of graft doesn’t cut the blood flow, the success rate for this type of graft is high. In order for this graft to work for gum recession, the patient needs plenty of gum tissue near the recession area.
After The Procedure
After your gum graft procedure, you may experience some of the typical discomforts associated with any type of dental procedure, such as:
- Minor bleeding
- Pain or discomfort
If swelling, discomfort or any other problem gets worse after surgery, contact your dentist as you may need pain medications or antibiotics. Do not floss or brush the gum line that was repaired until the area has healed. You will be asked to rinse your mouth with a special mouth rinse to help control plaque during the healing process. You may need to eat soft foods while the procedure site heals. Typically, your dental surgeon or dentist will use stitches, if invasive, that dissolve on their own, but if not your dental surgeon or dentist will have to remove them.
If your gums are receding don’t wait until it’s too late! Call us today at 212-SMILING (212-764-5464) to schedule a visit with our Board Certified Periodontist Dr. Yung Kim to ensure your teeth and gums are in top condition.