What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is a periodontal condition which occurs when a patient’s gum tissue wears away over time – exposing not only more of your teeth, but the tooth’s root as well. Gum recession, while not being very common, can happen to anyone. Because the condition often happens slowly over a long period of time, many individuals do not even realize until their gums have receded nearly to the point of exposing their roots.
In the early stages, gum recession is characterized by increased tooth sensitivity – especially when eating or drinking hot or cold foods. however, if this condition is left untreated, and continues to progress it can often worsen to the point of severe damage or tooth loss. Whether it be for cosmetic reasons or to prevent damage to your exposed teeth, it is vital for patients suffering from gum recession to seek treatment.
What is Gum Graft Surgery?
A gum graft is a common type of periodontal dental procedure performed to correct the effects of gum disease or gum recession. While this procedure is a relatively simple, it only performed for those who have serious gum issues. in order to build the gum tissue back up, your periodontist will remove the healthy gum tissue from the roof of the mouth.
The Gum Graft Procedure
There are a few different types of gum graft procedures available, depending upon the type of damage as well as the extent of the damage you might be suffering from. During your oral health exam, Dr. Malakov will examine your gums and help you decide what procedure is right for you.
Generally, the procedure begins with the administration of local anesthesia, and in some cases it may require the root area and leftover gums to be cleaned. Then, one of the following 3 types of gun graft surgeries may be performed.
- Connective Tissue Grafts
This version of the procedure requires the periodontist to remove tissue from the roof of the mouth, by making a flap and taking tissue from beneath the top layer. This tissue is then attached to the existing gum tissue in order to cover the exposed root. The flap that was created is then stitched to the roof of the mouth.
- Free Gingival Grafts
This is the method that’s most preferred amongst patients with thinner gums, who may require additional tissue to enlarge their gums. Similar to the other procedure, tissue from the top of the mouth is then stitched to the existing gum area.
- Pedicle (lateral) Grafts
This method is used commonly amongst those patients with excess gum tissue in another area of the mouth – near the tooth in need of the graft. The extra gum tissue is cut from one end and stretched down to cover any exposed areas and stitched into place.
Once your procedure is completed, there are some important steps that can help aid in not only your recovery, but your results as well.
- Avoid brushing or flossing near the area that was treated.
- Use special mouthwash that controls plaque and bacteria build-up.
- Antibiotics can reduce risk of infections.
- Avoid exercise too soon.
- Eat soft, easy to eat, cold foods for some time after – avoid hard foods as well.
- Avoid smoking as much as possible.
In some cases, your periodontist may even be able to find tissue from a tissue bank – however, this can be rare. The procedure may result in some pain or discomfort for some time after, but it should heal within 1 to 2 weeks. Depending on the level of your pain, Dr. Malokov may recommend some OTC or prescription pain meds. For more information on gum issues be sure to contact us today.