Have you been noticing frequent tooth sensitivity and receding gums? You may require a gum graft to help repair gum loss and prevent further damage and pain. If you’ve never heard of this procedure before, you shouldn’t worry, it’s a common practice that can help repair the defect and revitalize your beautiful smile. To learn more about gum grafts and how they can help your gums and teeth, here’s some useful information on the topic.
What are Gum Grafts?
If your gums are receding from your teeth and the root has become visible, your dentist will likely recommend a gum graft. The surgery is designed to help stop the recession from continuing and to prevent you from losing the bone or the entire tooth. It involves taking a piece of your tissue and using it to cover the root of your tooth.
How Is Gum Graft Surgery Performed?
Grafting is a common procedure that produces exceptional results. The procedure will depend on the condition of your gums and what your dentist believes will be the best option for treatment. Generally, there are two methods that use tissue directly from the patient’s palate or your dentist may decide to use a tissue bank as the source of the graft.
During the procedure, a sedative will be used to help reduce pain and create more comfort for the patient. To accommodate the transplant, an incision will be made so that the graft can be inserted into the tissue. Afterwards, a suture is used to provide support and to prevent it from moving around. Healing is relatively fast and can be expected to take place for approximately six weeks after the surgery.
Types of Gum Graft Procedures
Typically, one of three gum graft procedures is performed. The specific type used by your dentist will depend on your individual situation and needs.
Different types of gum graft procedures include:
- Connective tissue grafts. These are the most common procedures used to treat exposed roots. During the treatment, a flap of skin is cut from your palate (the area at the top of the mouth). Then, subepithelial connective tissue (tissue from under the flap) is removed and stitched to the gums surrounding the root exposure. Once the graft has been removed from the palate, the skin flap is stitched back.
- Free gingival graft. Just like a connective tissue graft, free gingival grafts use the tissue taken from the mouth palate. However, instead of making a skin flap and removing the tissue from under the flap, a small amount of connective tissue is taken directly from the palate and attached to the treated area of gums. This procedure is chosen most often for people who have thin gums initially and require additional tissue to enlarge them.
- Pedicle grafts. In this procedure, the tissue is taken from the gum surrounding the treated tooth instead of tissue from the roof of the mouth. The skin flap, referred to as “pedicle”, is partially cut, with one edge being attached to the gum. The gum is then pulled down or over in order to cover the root exposure and then is sewn into place. This procedure can be done for patients who already have enough gum tissue around the tooth.
What Are The Benefits of Gum Grafts?
A gum graft not only protects your teeth, but can also create stable, healthy tissue around the tooth to prevent any future recession and bone loss. It can also promote improved oral health by covering the exposed roots and preventing them from future decay and recession. Surgery may additionally reduce any sensitivities or pain when eating and drinking.
Some people even opt for a gum graft for cosmetic and aesthetic purposes and to improve their overall appearance. Gum grafts thicken gums, and thus the teeth look shorter and more symmetrical, giving you a more beautiful smile.
How Painful is a Gum Graft in Ottawa?
The amount of pain you will experience after the surgery will depend on a specific type of gum graft performed. In case where no tissue was removed from your palate, you can expect to have little to no discomfort. However, in cases when connective tissue has been removed from the palate, you may expect discomfort for a few days following the procedure.
Prescription pain medication or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can help to keep you comfortable for days following the surgical procedure.
How Long Does it Take for a Gum Graft to Heal?
It may take a couple of weeks for your mouth to heal fully, but you should be able to return to your normal daily activities the following day. You should schedule a follow-up appointment with your periodontist a week after the surgery, so that he or she can monitor that the graft is successful and you are healing properly.
After two weeks, you will be able to floss and brush your teeth again.
Is a Gum Graft Permanent?
Gum grafts are effective at treating gingival recession and preventing damage in the future. However, the procedure does not guarantee that new gum problems will not arise in the future.
Nevertheless, careful at-home dental care and regular dental check-ups will help you prevent serious damage requiring another surgery.
If you are observing gum recession as a result of incorrect brushing habits or poor oral hygiene, it is important to resolve this issue prior to the procedure. This will reduce the chances that you will require another gum graft procedure in the future.
Choose Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre for Gum Grafts in Ottawa
If you are experiencing tender gums, sensitive teeth, a longer tooth line, or exposed roots, you could be experiencing signs of gum disease and recession. It’s wise to visit your dentist so they can make a more informed diagnosis.
If you suspect that you have gum disease or recession, don’t delay. Come see us at Rockcliffe Dental today! Our team of specialists will carefully inspect your mouth and recommend the right treatment for your condition. If grafting is necessary, our clinic offers minimally invasive gum surgery to help improve your oral health and overall aesthetics.