Diplomate and Masters of Implantology, ICOI.org
Gum Tissue Grafts: What You Need to Know
A gum graft is not as bad as it may sound. The procedure protects your teeth from gum recession, and it can improve the look of your smile.
Gum recession is a common dental problem affecting 4% to 12% of patients. It occurs when gum pulls away from the tooth. This exposes more of the tooth, and in some cases, the tooth root. In severe cases, the supporting bone can become damaged.
Many people are surprised when we tell them their gums are receding. Since it’s such a gradual process, they don’t realize more of their tooth or teeth are exposed until we tell them, or they start suffering from tooth sensitivity.
Untreated gum recession can lead to tooth loss, which is why gum tissue grafts are so important.
What to Expect During the Procedure?
We perform three types of gum tissue graft procedures.
Free gingival grafts
Connective-Tissue Grafts is the most common procedure performed. We cut a flap of skin from the roof of your mouth and subepithelial connective tissue from under the flap. We remove them and then stitch the gum tissue around the tooth root. Once the connective tissue is removed from under the flap, we stitch the flap back in place.
Free Gingival Grafts
This procedure is similar to the procedure above but involves using the tissue from the roof of the mouth. A small amount of tissue is removed from this area and then attached to the gum area that’s being treated. We usually perform free gingival grafts on patients who have thin gums because this procedure adds additional tissue to make the gums larger.
This procedure removes tissue from the gum areas that not being treated. We cut a flap of the gum (called pedicle) to the edge leaving it still attached. The flap is then pulled over and down over the exposed root. The gum is sewed down to secure it in place. We only perform pedicle grafts on people who have plenty of gum to use.
Recovery from Gum Tissue Grafts
Patients may go home immediately following the procedure. Those who need a sedative to relax will need to have someone drive them home.
It is important to follow our post-operative care instructions to support the healing process. These instructions include foods and physical activities to avoid and medications to treat discomfort.
You should not brush or floss your teeth until the area has healed completely. To keep plaque away, you will receive a special mouth rinse. An antibiotic may be prescribed to reduce the risk of infection.
How long it takes to recover depends on the gum graft procedure performed. Most patients are completely healed within two weeks.
Contact First Dental Implant Center for Gum Tissue Grafts
If your dentist has recommended a gum tissue graft, First Dental Implant Center can help. Dr. Michael A. Hilario specializes in this procedure, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands. With two convenient locations in Reseda and Agoura Hills, contact us now for an appointment at 888-213-0009.