Among the different types of surgeries performed by dental surgeons, gum grafting is a type for correcting the effects of gum recession. The procedure is relatively simple and quick where the periodontist takes some healthy gum tissue from the roof of the mouth for use to build the gum from where the recession has occurred.
Gum recession happens when the tissue of the gum wears away exposing a major portion of the tooth near the root. The recession causes sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold foods. The problem is not realized by most people because of the slowness at which the gum recession progresses.
When ignored gum recession can eventually lead to tooth loss. Some people choose to have a gum grafting procedure for cosmetic reasons just to have a better smile. For many, a gum graft becomes necessary to protect the exposed tooth from further damage and repair any damage that was already created.
Different types of gum grafts are available and the type of surgery suggested will depend on the extent and severity of the damage created by the recession and the individual of a patient.
A periodontist will discuss the different types of gum grafts available with the patient before determining the best option suitable for him or her.
Local anesthesia will be administered by the periodontist to numb the area and make the patient comfortable. The three types of gum grafts that are popularly offered are the following:
Connective Tissue Grafts: This procedure requires the periodontist to remove tissue from the roof of the mouth by making a flap and also taking tissue from beneath the top layer. The tissue will be stitched onto the existing gum tissue to cover the exposed tooth root. The flap on the roof of the mouth from where the tissue was obtained is also stitched.
Free Gingival Grafts: This method is preferred for people who have thin gums and require additional tissue to enlarge their gums. The periodontist will be removing the tissue directly from the top layer on the roof of the mouth and stitching the same to the existing gum area.
Pedicle Grafts: This is a procedure preferred by people with plenty of gum tissue being visible near the exposed tooth. The periodontist grafts the tissue from the gum near the tooth needing treatment. The tissue is only cut a partially keeping one edge attached. It is then stretched over or below the exposed tooth and held in place with stitches.
A periodontist may decide to source the gum tissue needed for the grafting from a tissue bank rather than remove it from the patient’s mouth.
After the patient and the dentist have considered all options and decided on the type of surgery no preparation is needed on the part of the patient for the procedure. However, it is essential to ensure a member of the family or friend accompanies the patient to drive him or her to and from the appointment. This is a requirement because the pain medication provided to the patient after the procedure will make it unsafe for them to begin driving after the gum graft surgery. Patients getting the procedure will be able to go home immediately after it is completed and will receive instructions from the periodontist on the after-care to ensure the gum graft healing progresses successfully.
The pain and discomfort felt by the patient will vary for every individual. Minimum pain will be experienced if the periodontist is used tissue from the tissue bank. If the tissue for the grafting was removed from the roof of the mouth the patient may encounter some discomfort for a few days.
The healing process requires a couple of weeks for most people but may take longer for some. Over-the-counter medications and pain relievers can be used for help to manage and discomfort. M2 dental assures that most people can return to work the following day but will need to have another appointment with your dentist to check how the healing is progressing and to remove any stitches if necessary. The result of the surgery will ensure that the gums look different and even feel lighter and firmer.