Gum grafting is usually recommended by a dentist or periodontist in the case that the natural gumline has receded and left the underlying tooth structure exposed. This leaves the tooth and bone susceptible to damage and decay. To correct this, your dentist or periodontist will recommend that a gum grafting procedure be carried out. Continue reading for more information about this procedure, as well as what to expect during and after your treatment.
Gum recession is actually fairly common, especially in the elderly and those who smoke. When gum recession occurs, the gum tissue that supports and surrounds a tooth wears away, leaving the underlying tooth and bone exposed. The recession of gum tissue is something that happens gradually over time, and in most cases, patients will not notice until there is a significant change in the look of their smile, or in the case that damage or decay occurs. Gum grafting treatment is designed to restore the gum tissue in order to protect the tooth and bone structure, and to provide a more aesthetically-pleasing smile.
Different Types Of Gum Grafting
There are three main types of gum grafting that are used:
- Connective-tissue grafting: A portion of skin is cut from the palate (roof of the mouth). Underneath this portion of skin is the subepithelial connective tissue, which the dentist or periodontist will remove and transfer to the place of gum recession in the mouth. The skin on the palate is then sutured back into place.
- Pedicle grafting: This method is less commonly used, as it requires the patient to have a decent amount of gum tissue surrounding the tooth. The dentist or periodontist will cut a flap of skin from the gum surrounding or near the tooth. This flap is referred to as the pedicle. The pedicle will then be stretched to cover the space where recession has occurred, and sutures will be placed.
- Free gingival grafting: During free gingival grafting, a portion of the palatal skin will be removed and placed directly on the site of recession.
- Donor tissue grafting: This is often regarded as the grafting option that is the least painful and invasive for the patient. Sterile tissue is taken from a donor and placed into the patient’s mouth.This is a strong favorite among both doctors and patients, as it allows the patient to have the most comfortable experience possible.
What To Expect During And After The Procedure
No matter which type of grafting your doctor has recommended for you, they will begin the procedure by ensuring that the area is completely numbed with a local anesthesia. In some cases, sedation may be used. There should be very little to no pain during the procedure. Once the dentist or periodontist has finished placing the graft and sutures and dressings have been placed, you will be given post-operative instructions to follow during your healing period, such as:
- Avoid extreme hot or cold food and beverages
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a diet of soft foods
- Avoid strenuous activity
- Take prescription medication as prescribed
Some soreness can be expected after your procedure, but the pain relief prescription medication should relieve that for you, and healing time will be accelerated by how closely you follow your post-op instructions. You will return for a follow-up appointment for your doctor to check your healing and remove your stitches, if necessary.
Your dentist or periodontist at Willow Glen Dental Specialists will work with you to design a treatment plan that works best for you. Using the information you learned here, you will be able to discuss your treatment in length to determine exactly what you can expect during your treatment.