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When Do I Need Gum Graft Surgery?

It pays to protect your periodontal tissue (gums), for it serves to guard your teeth, your oral health, and your overall health – besides preventing painful infection in your gum tissue itself. When you are experiencing gum problems, maybe despite your best efforts at good oral hygiene at home, it’s time to see your periodontist to talk about possible periodontal treatments.
One major form of gum treatment is called soft tissue grafts, or “gum grafts.” This kind of procedure may by part of a broader treatment plan, for example, if gum disease is treated with root planing and scaling or laser periodontal surgery or at least by removal of infected tissue, first. But gum grafts can also be a stand alone procedure.

Gum Grafts To Treat Gum Disease
First of all, if you suffer from severe gum disease, regardless of how the infected tissue is removed, it could leave large areas of your teeth unprotected by gum tissue. Laser gum surgery will minimize the amount of good tissue taken away while targeting the bad tissue, but in advanced cases, you will still have gaps in your gums.

Now, periodontal lasers can actually stimulate your remaining periodontal tissue to regenerate, but you may still need gum grafts to ensure a good final result.

The three most common types of gum grafts are as follows:

  1. Connective tissue grafts. Connective tissue from under your own palate is taken and used to cover exposed tooth roots. The cut is made in a “flap” form so that the flap can be stitched back down to the palate, while the sourced tissue is sutured to your gums.
  2. Free gingival grafts. This type of graft does not use a flap procedure and takes the tissue from the roof of your mouth. It is taken in smaller quantities and used to build up thin gums in most cases.
  3. Pedicle grafts. If you have a lot of gum tissue but not in all the right places, the gums themselves may be “flapped” and sewn down in the proper place to guard your teeth.

Also realize that tissue banks material is sometimes used, and proteins may be added to help stimulate growth. In some cases, you may need both gum and bone grafts, such as when you are preparing your mouth to receive a dental implant.

Gum Grafts To Treat Gum Recession
In some cases, excessive gum recession may be a good reason to get gum grafts done, even if you don’t have gum disease as such. We often don’t notice when gums gradually recede over a period of months and years, but at some point, it can endanger your teeth by making it easy for tooth roots to get infected. And of course, it can seriously impair your natural smile.

The types of gum grafting done to treat gum recession is the same as the three main kinds listed above. It’s only a matter of a different reason for gum grafts, not of any differences in the actual procedure.

Over time, as your gums heal post-op, the new gums will integrate fully with the old gum tissue. New tissue will also grow and integrate until your smile is fully restored. Also note that you can remove excess gum tissue in you have the opposite problem to gum recession.

To learn more about gum grafts and periodontal treatment, feel free to contact Dr. Kenzik in Central Florida today!

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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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