A gum graft procedure can help reduce tooth sensitivity caused by a receding gum line. It can also alter the appearance of your smile. Today, our Ottawa dentists discuss why you might need a gum graft, and the benefits of the procedure.
What is a gum graft?
A gum graft is a dental surgical procedure to correct the effects gum recession can have on your mouth - and your oral health. It can also alter the appearance of your gums.
During this quick and relatively simple surgery, your dentist will transplant healthy gum tissue from the roof of your mouth and use it to build up the gum where it has receded.
Why might I need a gum graft?
Why might I need a gum graft?
Oral Health Reasons
The most common reason for a gum graft is gum recession.
Gum recession happens when gum tissue wears away and exposes more of the tooth. It can cause increased sensitivity, especially when you eat or drink hot or cold foods or beverages.
Gum recession tends to occur gradually, often as a result of gum disease, and so many people will not notice right away that it’s happening. However, if left untreated, gum recession is very serious and can lead to painfully swollen gums and a variety of other dental conditions, including:
Severe Tooth Sensitivity
Severe tooth sensitivity is one of the most common reasons patients will opt for a gum graft. Though tooth sensitivity may indicate an underlying or more serious issue, it can also be caused by an exposed tooth root.
With a gum graft procedure, the missing tissue can be repaired or replaced, which should significantly reduce the discomfort and pain you feel when eating extremely hot or cold foods.
Tooth Decay or Loss
Our gums naturally begin to recede as we age, there's less there to hold your teeth in place. An injury or accident can easily cause trauma and some patients will need a gum graft to prevent any or further tooth decay or tooth loss.
Loss of Supporting Bone
If your gums begin to recede due to aging or other causes and this process continues untreated, the bone that holds your teeth roots in your mouth can erode. Loss of bone structure is dangerous for your oral health (and your overall physical health), since it can lead to tooth loss.
A gum graft can help reduce the perceived length of gums and teeth. Some individuals will choose to have a gum graft done for cosmetic purposes, to help improve their smile’s appearance.
What can I expect during a gum graft procedure?
Your dentist will probably use local anesthesia to numb the area affected by the procedure. The tissue will first be removed from the roof of your mouth or from healthy gum tissue that’s nearby. Next, the tissue will be attached to the spot where your gums have receded.
This procedure usually doesn’t take very long, and you can leave the office as soon as it’s complete.
How long does it take to recover from a gum graft?
It’s rare to experience complications such as infection as a result of a gum graft.
For the first week or so after your procedure, you’ll need to eat cold, soft foods (steer clear of hot or hard foods) to prevent damage to the gum graft.
Your dentist will likely recommend that you prevent infections or issues with the graft by using an antimicrobial mouthwash.If you notice any gum pain or discomfort, your dentist may also recommend over-the-counter pain medications to relieve the pain.