More and more people are getting gum grafts by the day. While many people praise the grafting procedure for its cosmetic benefits, gum grafts also offer many health benefits, too.
Suffice to say, this procedure can have an immensely positive impact on the right candidate.
That said, not everyone knows whether they’re the ideal candidate for this procedure. Some may not even know what the procedure itself entails. Judging by the questions our staff field on a regular basis, many of the people reading this blog post might find themselves a little uninformed on the subject of gum grafts, too.
Over the course of this blog post, we will be sure to answer some of your most pressing gum graft related questions. Before long, we hope to have succeeded in demystifying the grafting process. Maybe you’ll feel a little more eager to pursue the procedure your dentist has always recommended you, or maybe you’ll feel confident enough to recommend the procedure to a close friend.
Read at your leisure, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the facilities of Dr. Suzanne Caudry at (416) 928-3444. Knowledge is power, and we believe in empowering the everyday people and patients in our community.
What Is a Gum Graft?
We thought it might be a good idea to start at the beginning. When people speak of a gum graft or a gingival graft, they’re referring to a specific type of soft tissue grafting procedure. This procedure is performed with the intent of replacing gum tissue that has receded over time. Professionals may recommend this procedure to ward off the problems that stem from recessed gums.
How it Works
Gum grafts require professionals to place new soft tissue over the surgical site—but where does this soft tissue come from? Well, in most cases, the tissue usually comes from the roof of the patient’s mouth. While some patients might feel wary about creating two surgical sites for one procedure, the recovery time for a gum graft is often quite swift and relatively painless.
Types of Gum Grafts
Different gum problems call for different remedies and solutions. Depending on the nature of your oral health issues, we may take any number of approaches to the soft tissue grafting procedure.
Connective Tissue Graft
The connective tissue graft is by far one of the most popular of all the gum graft procedures. This approach sees the periodontist opening a small flap in the roof of the patient’s mouth. Underneath this flap, the periodontist extracts a small piece of connective tissue. The connective tissue is then attached to the area of recessed gums.
Free Gingival Graft
The free gingival grafting procedure sees the periodontist removing a piece of skin from the roof of the mouth, rather than tissue from underneath the top layers of the palette. Periodontists may deploy the free gingival technique when a patient only needs to fortify their thinning gums.
The pedicle graft involves the grafting of tissue taken from an area very close to the problem-area, rather than the roof of the mouth. While many may prefer to take this approach, a periodontist can only undertake it if the circumstances are perfect. An individual’s gums must be healthy enough to endure such a procedure. Without existing healthy gum tissue, the periodontist might have to take a different approach.
Recovery Time for Gum Grafts
Patients can expect the healing period to last roughly two weeks. We recommend that you stick to a diet of soft foods that won’t agitate the surgical site during these two weeks. We also advise against hot foods that might burn or irritate the graft. Your periodontist might also recommend you steer clear of straws during the healing period.
As for hygienic practices, we advise patients against brushing or flossing near the grafted site. Aggressive brushing can slow down the healing process. In some cases, toothbrushes or dental floss can even open up the wound.
The success of a gingival graft depends on post-operative aftercare. No matter how diligently a periodontist operates, all the work can be undone during the recovery period. If you stick to the foods recommended by your periodontist and avoid aggressive oral care, your graft should heal wonderfully.
Benefits of the Gum Graft
Some of the benefits of gum graft are less well-known than others. As for the more popular reasons, well, they’re worth repeating, too. Much like the various reasons for wanting—or needing—a gum graft, any of these benefits alone are well worth the time spent in the dentist’s chair.
Some of these benefits include:
Improved and Renewed Smile
Everyone has a great smile. Sometimes the smile is just hiding behind unaddressed oral trauma, tooth decay, or a gum line that doesn’t quite suit your teeth. Even the most subtle adjustment in the gum line can dramatically alter your smile. Everyone will notice, but few will be able to detect exactly what it is that has changed about your smile.
Reduced Risk of Tooth and Bone Loss
Receding gums leave more and more of the teeth and bone vulnerable to plaque and bacteria. Over time, infections can occur, teeth can decay, and more. When you invest in a gum graft, you are taking a proactive stance against these issues.
Bone loss comes as a result of infections—infections that stem from the buildup of plaque and harmful bacteria. These issues can also give people bad-smelling breath.
Reduce Your Tooth Sensitivity
Sensitive teeth are the result of exposed tooth roots. If gum recession is not stopped in its tracks, these roots will only continue to show through the gum line, leading to increased tooth sensitivity and other dental issues. With the help of a gum graft, you can dramatically reduce the sensitivity of your teeth.
Learn More About Grafts Today
Would you like to learn a little more about gingival grafts? If so, we invite you to contact us at (416) 928-3444. We welcome every new patient into our facilities like they’re longtime patients of ours.