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What To Expect During Gum Grafting Surgery

Periodontitis (gum disease) occurs in various stages of severity and affects an alarmingly large segment of the U.S. population. By preventing gum disease, you also reduce the risk of tooth loss, oral infection, and conditions “outside the mouth” like heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.
If your gums have been receding, you likely did not notice it immediately since the process is very gradual. But when gums recede, teeth “lengthen” and roots are exposed. Exposed roots can lead to root decay, loosening of the tissue surrounding the tooth, and ultimately, the need for an extraction and dental implant or other tooth restoration option.

Your periodontist can help you determine if your gum problems are best addressed with scaling and root planing (a “deep clean” of your gums), a tray delivering system that applies gum medications, laser periodontal surgery, or gum grafting surgery. But with advanced gum line recession, gum graft surgery is likely the best option.

Three Types of Gum Graft Surgery
Soft tissue grafts are often used by experienced periodontists to correct excessive gum recession in as natural a way as possible, thus preventing possible future tooth and bone loss. Soft tissues also reduce tooth sensitivity, improve your smile, and benefit your oral and overall health.

If you need soft tissue grafts to correct gum recession, there are four main types of surgery:

  1. Connective Tissue Grafts: The most commonly used procedure, this involves sourcing soft tissue from under a skin-flap cut on the roof or your mouth. The material is stitched to cover your exposed tooth roots.
  2. Free Gingival Grafts: This is the same as connective tissue grafting except that tissue from the surface of the mouth’s roof is used. This method is typical for those with thin gums.
  3. Pedicle Grafts: If you have lots of gum tissue but yet still have gum recession, your periodontist can use the local tissue. The material can be cut (but not detached), folded over, and stitched into place.
  4. Tissue Bank Grafts: In some cases, a tissue bank can be used, along with proteins that stimulate tissue growth.

After the Gum Graft Surgery
After soft tissue grafts are placed on your gums, you will need to adjust your diet and oral care for 1 to 2 weeks while your gums heal. You should avoid flossing and brushing along the gum line, use a medicated mouthwash, use any antibiotics your periodontist prescribed exactly as prescribed, and eat only soft foods. Avoid eating hot foods, but cool foods can soothe your gums.

If anesthesia was used during the surgery, you will need to have someone else available to drive you home as well. Be sure to ask your periodontist for any further post-operative instructions.

Some 5% to 10% of dental patients will experience gum recession and may need soft tissue grafts at some point in their life. Proper and timely response to gum problems will save your teeth and health by keeping issues from occurring and getting worse. Contact Dr. Kenzik in Ormond Beach, FL, to learn more about how to protect your gums and oral health.

Start smiling brighter, laughing harder, and being more confident.

Ormond Beach Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is conveniently located on Nova Road in Ormond Beach, Florida. We help seniors, adults, and teenagers smile with confidence.

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