We would all love to have healthy teeth and stunning smiles, but many of us overlook our gums when thinking about dental health. Gums play a very important role in preserving healthy, beautiful smiles. Gums are susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease caused by inflammation and bacteria as well as recession.
A common issue in periodontal (gum) health is recession. Some reasons gums may recede are genetically thin gum tissue, orthodontic treatment (braces), aggressive tooth brushing, but most commonly, teeth grinding or “bruxism”. Left unaddressed, receding gums expose the roots of your teeth, increasing tooth sensitivity and chances for tooth decay, continued recession, and possible tooth loss.
Fortunately, a gum graft can help reverse the negative effects of receding gums and restore your mouth to good health. The success of your treatment depends on the right preparation, grafting procedure, and recovery. Choosing a skilled and experienced dental professional will increase the likelihood of a successful gum graft.
If your dentist recently recommended a gum graft, the procedure may sound worse than it really is. This periodontal (gum) surgery may be exactly what you need to protect your pearly whites from the negative effects of gum recession. Gum grafting may also improve the appearance of your smile and prevent further gum recession.
During the procedure, your dentist will add connective tissue to the receding gums to help cover the exposed area of your teeth. In some cases, they may take healthy tissue from one area of your mouth and use it to cover the exposed tooth root, but in most cases, the dentist can complete the procedure using allograft, which is processed donor tissue that comes in a sterile packet. An allograft is very safe and saves time during your surgery and recovery. Our Doctors have provided and even received these types of grafts, so they are very safe and effective.
There are three main types of gum tissue grafts.
The type of procedure your periodontist or dentist recommends will depend on your specific needs. The three main gum graft procedures include:
This gum grafting procedure aims to address root exposure. Your dentist will attach allograft to the gum tissue around the affected tooth root and keep it in place with sutures. Typically, this allograft tissue comes in a sterile package, thus, requiring only one location in the mouth to complete the procedure (unlike some grafting that requires two locations, the grafting site, and the donor site on the roof of the mouth). Your sutures will be removed at a follow-up appointment about two weeks after your surgery to allow the gums to heal.
In this procedure, your dentist will take tissue from near or around the problem tooth. This involves partial cutting away of the gums to create a flap that is still attached on one side called a pedicle. Your dentist will then pull the pedicle down or over your gum to cover the exposed root and suture (sew) it into place. However, you need to have adequate gum tissue near the repair site to undergo this procedure.
This procedure is somewhat similar to the connective tissue graft. It involves the use of tissue from the mouth’s roof. But instead of making a flap, your dentist will remove some of the tissue under the top layer of flesh and attach it to the treatment area.
To learn more about gum grafts, visit Jonny Fisher DDS at our offices in Pullman, Washington. You can call (509) 383-8300 today to schedule an appointment.