Gum grafting is a dental procedure used to restore and repair gum tissue that has been damaged or lost due to various factors.
This procedure involves taking healthy gum tissue from one area of the mouth and placing it in another, ultimately helping to prevent tooth loss and other oral health problems.
At Highlands Ranch Periodontics and Implant Center, we specialize in gum grafting. Our experienced periodontists, Dr. Mike Norouzinia and Dr. Kerri Font, have performed this procedure on many patients, improving their oral health and boosting their confidence.
If you are searching for a ‘periodontist in Highlands Ranch’ or a ‘gum graft specialist near me’, we can help. Call (303) 683-1144 to schedule a consultation or complete the online booking form to begin your journey towards achieving a healthy smile.
- Gum recession can occur due to aggressive brushing, genetics, lifestyle habits like smoking, and poor oral hygiene.
- There are four types of gum graft procedures: Connective tissue grafting, free gingival grafting, donor grafting, and non-invasive techniques.
- The gum graft procedure involves consultation and evaluation, preparation, preparing the area, harvesting tissue, placing the graft, and recovery.
- Benefits of gum grafting include preventing tooth loss, reducing sensitivity, and improving appearance.
- Risks of gum grafting include infection, pain or discomfort, swelling or bleeding, and graft failure.
Main Causes of Gum Recession
Gum recession is a common dental problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth or root surface. This can lead to sensitivity, discomfort, and even tooth loss if left untreated.
The gums may recede due to several issues, including:
- Periodontal disease (gum disease): This is the most common cause of gum recession. Gum disease is an infection of the gums caused by bacteria in plaque and tartar buildup. The bacteria can destroy the gum tissue, causing it to recede.
- Aggressive brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear away the enamel on your teeth and irritate the gums, leading to recession.
- Genetics: Some people are more prone to gum recession due to their genetic makeup. If a family member has experienced gum recession, you may be at a higher risk.
- Lifestyle habits: Smoking or using any tobacco products can affect the health of your gums and cause them to recede.
- Poor oral hygiene: Not maintaining proper oral hygiene can lead to plaque buildup and gum disease, which can result in gum recession.
Types of Gum Graft Procedures
There are 4 types of gum graft procedures. Your periodontist will discuss which type is best for you.
- Connective tissue grafting: The doctor will make an incision on the top of the mouth and extract connective tissue (subepithelial connective tissue) from under the flap. The harvested connective tissue will then be securely stitched to the gum around the exposed root of the tooth.
- Free gingival grafting: A free gingival graft transfers tissue from the palate to the gumline to increase the gum thickness, usually for those with thin gums. The tissue is taken from the surface of the palate and not any of its underlying connective tissue.
- Donor Grafting: A piece of donor graft is used in place of your palatal tissue. We place this around the exposed roots and cover it.
- Non-invasive techniques: The most common non-invasive technique people are familiar with is The Pinhole Technique. This is a Trademark technique, which we do not subscribe to. However, we use several other non-invasive techniques to achieve excellent results.
Gum Graft Procedure Step-by-Step
Step 1: Consultation and evaluation – During your consultation, your periodontist will examine your mouth and determine if gum grafting is the right solution for you. They will also discuss the different types of gum graft procedures available and which one would be most suitable for the degree of gum recession.
Step 2: Preparation – Before beginning the procedure, the doctor will numb the area to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free. If you are nervous or anxious about dental procedures, dental sedation is available.
Step 3: Preparing the area – Once the area is numb, and incision will be made that creates a small flap in your gums. At this stage we will thoroughly clean your teeth roots.
Step 4: Harvesting tissue – Next, the doctor will make an incision at the roof of your mouth to extract the tissue. The area will be closed with sutures of periodontal tissue. (If your surgeon uses donated tissue, this step will be skipped.)
Step 4: Placing the graft – The harvested tissue will then be carefully placed over the exposed tooth root and secured with stitches. The doctor may also use a special material to protect the new tissue, depending on the type of procedure.
Step 5: Recovery – You will be given instructions on how to care for your mouth following the procedure. This may include avoiding hard or spicy foods, taking prescribed medication, and keeping the area clean to prevent infection.
Benefits of Gum Grafting
- Prevents tooth loss: Gum grafting helps to protect the roots of your teeth, preventing them from becoming loose or falling out due to gum recession.
- Reduces sensitivity: Exposed tooth roots can cause discomfort and sensitivity. By covering and protecting these areas, gum grafting can reduce or eliminate sensitivity.
- Improves appearance: Receding gums can make teeth appear longer and uneven. Gum grafting restores a natural, healthy-looking gumline and improves the overall aesthetics of your smile.
Risks of Gum Grafting
As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks involved in gum grafting. These include:
- Infection: Proper post-operative care will help reduce the risk of infection.
- Pain or discomfort: As mentioned earlier, some soreness may occur after the procedure, but this is usually manageable with over-the-counter medication.
- Swelling or bleeding: These are normal side effects and should subside within a few days. If they persist, contact your doctor immediately.
- Graft failure: In rare cases, the graft may not be successful, and additional surgery may be necessary.
Your Gum Graft Specialists In Highlands Ranch
Gum grafting is a safe and effective procedure that can improve the health and appearance of your smile.
If you are experiencing gum recession or have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, don’t wait to seek treatment. Our experienced periodontists at Highlands Ranch Periodontics and Implant Center are here to help restore your oral health and confidence.
If you are searching for a ‘periodontist in Highlands Ranch’ or a ‘gum graft specialist near me’, we can help. Call (303) 683-1144 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form.
Don’t let gum recession hold you back from smiling with confidence, take the first step towards a healthier smile today.
Don’t be alarmed if the area around your gum graft seems to have a white color during the healing process – this is completely normal and should not be interpreted as an infection. As you continue to heal, expect the affected area to turn into a healthy pink hue.
To ensure healing, restrict your diet for the first 48 hours and avoid foods that are hard and chewy and liquids like alcohol, carbonated beverages or drinking through a straw. After this period has elapsed, you may eat soft food that requires minimal chewing effort while avoiding any contact with the surgical area for two weeks.
Stitches typically stay in place for about 2 to 3 weeks after gum graft surgery. Your doctor will remove them during a follow-up appointment once the area has healed properly. However, the exact timeline may vary depending on the type of procedure and your individual healing process.
Patients usually receive local anesthesia during the procedure, so the surgery itself is not painful. Some discomfort or mild pain can occur during the recovery period, but it is generally manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers and should subside within a few days.
The cost of gum grafting can vary widely depending on various factors such as the complexity of the procedure, geographic location, and whether insurance covers part of the expense.
The initial healing period usually takes 1-2 weeks. During this recovery time, you’ll need to eat soft foods and avoid strenuous activity. Full healing, including the maturation of the graft, may take a few months.
There are some non-surgical alternatives like using specialized toothpaste or mouthwashes designed for sensitive teeth, but they won’t address the underlying issue of gum recession. Some newer techniques like the pinhole surgical technique offer minimally invasive options but are not suitable for all cases.
Coverage for gum grafting varies by insurance plan. Many insurance companies consider gum grafts to be a medically necessary procedure and offer partial coverage. Consult with your insurance provider to understand the extent of your coverage.
While gum grafting can effectively cover exposed tooth roots and build up your gumline, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of future gum recession, especially if the underlying causes, such as poor dental hygiene or aggressive brushing, are not addressed.