If you’ve been told that you need to have a gum graft performed, you probably have a lot of questions. Just what is this surgery about, why do you need it, and what is it like? When you know the basics of gum grafting surgery, you can go into it knowing what you can expect and what the recovery period will be like.
Gum Graft Surgery Basics
This is a kind of dental surgery that is performed on the gums. If you have gum recession, you have areas where the gums have separated from the teeth. This can leave the roots under them exposed. When you have teeth roots that are exposed, you have a higher risk of the teeth getting decayed. It can also be highly painful, making your teeth much more sensitive. The condition can also lead to bone deterioration around the teeth. When this happens, you can be at risk of losing your teeth. When you get gum grafting surgery, it replaces the gum tissue that had been lost so that you have better oral health overall.
When you have gums that are receding, this is a sign that you have a severe case of gum disease. This may be caused by not brushing properly, but it can also be a genetic condition. Some people simply have gums that get thinner as they get older. You might also have gums that recede if you brush your teeth in a way that is too hard and aggressive. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush so that you won’t cause this kind of harm. Getting gum graft surgery is highly common, and periodontists have several extra years of training to be able to perform this surgery.
The Details of Your Gum Grafting Surgery
Before the gum graft is done, there will be at least one examination of your oral health, and your gums will be found to be receding. The periodontist will look at your gums and measure the size of the gum pockets that have formed around the teeth. They will also find out how much recession there is around the affected teeth. They may want to monitor the gum recession at first, or they may find that you need to get gum grafting surgery soon. You can discuss a personalized treatment plan for you and make plans for you to get your surgery.
When it’s time for the gum surgery itself, there are different techniques that might be used. It’s common to take some tissue from another area, such as the roof of your mouth, and then use that to replace your missing gums. Sometimes, that gum tissue comes from another source that isn’t your body. In either case, it will help to make up for the recession and make sure that the roots of your teeth aren’t exposed.
When your gum surgery begins, you will be given local anesthesia to numb up the areas that will be accessed. If you want to be sedated for the surgery, that is also possible. If you have a lot of anxiety about the surgery and want to be sedated, let us know and our team can prepare for it. Sedation dentistry isn’t uncommon, and we want to ensure that you are always comfortable while you’re in our office. You might also try getting a local anesthesia and using nitrous oxide to stay calm and relaxed throughout the surgery.
Then, a flap is made in your gums, and the roots of the affected teeth will be cleaned thoroughly. Then, the gum graft has to be harvested if the extra gum material is coming from you. It’s just a small amount of tissue that is harvested, and the area will be numbed. Next, the gum graft is put into place. The surgeon will take the gum graft material and put it over the roots that are exposed in the area where the gums have been receding. The gum graft is positioned and then stitched into the right place. Sometimes the stitches dissolve on their own, and sometimes you have to return to have your stitches removed later.
The amount of time it takes to get the surgery will depend on how many teeth are being treated for gum recession. If you need just a single gum graft, the surgery will likely take about one hour. If you have several teeth that need to be treated with a gum graft, it will likely take longer. Once the surgery is over and the anesthetic wears off, you might have some mild soreness in the area of the surgery. The surgeon may give you medications for this soreness, or you may be given some instructions on how to treat the soreness.
After Your Gum Surgery
Once the surgery is over, you will have some dressing and gauze over the affected area. Usually, patients are told they can remove their gauze in another half an hour. If you were sedated for the surgery, you will have to have someone with you to drive you home. You will leave with guidelines for after your surgery and how to take care of the area. Be sure to follow all of the directions you’re given to keep the area healthy and as comfortable as possible.
After a week, your surgeon may want you to come in and have the area checked. You may have another appointment or two scheduled to check on the surgical area. Take all of the medications you are given, and be sure to continue following the instructions for at least the first two weeks after your surgery.
Call Us for Gum Grafting Surgery
At the Center for Family & Implant Dentistry, we are able to perform this surgery right in our office for your convenience. Gum graft surgery can greatly improve your dental health, and we’re here to serve you. Contact us for your gum surgery needs.