What is Gum Graft Surgery?
Has the appearance of your smile changed due to a receding gumline? Gum (gingival) recession may be the result of periodontal (gum) disease, tooth misalignment, bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), genetics, or other types of oral concerns. When the gums pull away from the teeth and begin to recede, the roots of the teeth become exposed and make the teeth look longer. This can also impact your oral health as tooth roots lack a protective enamel coating and are at a higher risk of becoming damaged or decayed. If gum recession is affecting your appearance and dental health, talk with a general dentist about your options for treatment. A gum graft procedure could be what you need to replenish gum tissue that has been lost and protect your teeth. Gum grafting uses gum tissue from your own mouth (or another healthy source) to return the gumline to a more attractive and healthier position on your teeth. Let Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 help you overcome the look of an aging, receding smile and enhance your oral health. Schedule a visit at our Houston, TX practice to learn more about gum grafting surgery.
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What Are the Benefits of Gum Grafting?
Gum grafting is an effective option to treat receding gums. This cutting-edge procedure offers a myriad of benefits for patients experiencing gum recession and related dental concerns. Some of the most common advantages of gum grafting include:
- Protects exposed roots: Protects the sensitive roots of teeth from external elements, reducing pain and sensitivity
- Enhances aesthetics: Results in a more even and pleasing gum line, improving the overall appearance of one's smile
- Helps prevent further recession: Stabilizes the gum tissue, helping to prevent further degradation and recession of gums
- Reduces tooth loss risk: Strengthens the area around the teeth, reducing the likelihood of tooth loss due to weakened support
- Improves oral health: By addressing root exposures, gum grafting can reduce the risk of root cavities and other related oral health issues
Do I Need Gum Graft Surgery?
Gum recession is most often caused by gum disease. When oral bacteria cause the gums to pull away from the teeth and damage the underlying bone, the gum tissues tend to recede. But factors like oral piercings, genetics, aggressive home care techniques, tooth misalignment, and habitual teeth grinding or clenching can all result in a receding gumline. Gum recession may leave oral effects that are aesthetic in nature, including teeth that look longer, an aging smile, and darker-colored tooth structure near the gums. Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures along with discomfort when brushing and flossing may also be experienced when the roots of the teeth are exposed. One or more of these signs and symptoms may indicate that gum recession is affecting your smile. During your consultation with our Houston, TX team, we will evaluate your gum level and talk with you about how to improve your oral health. Gum grafting may be a solution to bringing your gumline back to a more favorable position on your teeth for a more attractive smile and reduced risk of damage to your tooth roots.
How is Gum Graft Surgery Performed?
Gum graft surgery is an effective gingival recession treatment that helps repair receded gums. To help you get the comprehensive care you need for a healthy and comfortable smile, we may partner with a periodontal specialist if gum grafting is recommended for your dental needs. A gum graft is a periodontal procedure that rejuvenates the health and look of your smile by raising (lower teeth) or lower (upper teeth) the gumline by adding healthy tissues in areas of gum recession. Taking tissue from other areas of your mouth or a safe donor source, gum grafts cover exposed root surfaces to minimize sensitivity and reduce the chance of damage. To keep you comfortable, gum grafts are performed using local anesthetics and may be paired with sedation dentistry services to further enhance your comfort.
To perform a gum graft, healthy gum tissue is positioned to cover your tooth roots in areas where recession has occurred and sutured in place to surrounding gums. As the grafted sites heal, the new tissue blends with the surrounding gums for a new and improved gumline situated at a proper, healthier, and more attractive level on the tooth. Several approaches to gum grafting may be utilized to treat a receded gumline. Connective tissue grafts use healthy tissue sourced from the roof of your mouth, just below the surface layer while a free gingival graft takes tissue directly from the surface of your hard palate. When an abundance of gum tissue is close to a tooth with recession, a pedicle graft may be performed. This procedure creates a flap in the excess tissue, stretches the gum over the exposed root, and sutures it in place. In many cases, using tissue from your own mouth is preferred, but when this is not ideal, gum tissue grafts may be sourced from biocompatible synthetic materials or other donor options.
The newly positioned gum tissue will be held in place by sutures until the gums heal and form a blended connection with the existing gums. The result, once healed, is a seamless gumline that is raised or lowered (depending on the arch) to enhance the look for your smile and improve your oral health. Depending on the number of treatment areas, gum grafting may take anywhere from a single to several appointments to complete.
How Long is the Recovery After Gum Surgery?
When your gum grafting procedure is complete, you will be given tips on how to take care of your teeth and gums while your grafted sites heal. Please avoiding eating until your mouth no longer feels numb. You may also want to take it easy and avoid strenuous physical activities in the first few days after receiving gum grafting surgery. During this time, you may have gum tenderness or discomfort in your mouth. However, nonprescription pain medication and cold packs against the face can provide some relief. Our Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 team may recommend a medicated mouthwash to use while your gums heal to help control oral bacteria while preserving the delicate grafted tissues. Keeping up with thorough brushing and flossing daily once your gum grafts have healed and blended with your gumline is essential to gum and overall oral health. We will give you specific home care instructions to follow as your mouth recovers to help enable your gums to fully heal and achieve the desired results. A few weeks following your grafting procedure, a follow-up visit will be scheduled so that we can check your healing and make sure your new gumline is best serving your smile.
Does Insurance Cover Gum Surgery?
Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 accepts most PPO dental plans and will get in touch with your insurance provider to determine if gum grafting surgery is a covered periodontal benefit. Before starting your procedure, we will calculate any personal costs and help you find a payment solution that is comfortable for your budget. Our Houston, TX practice offers several convenient payment solutions and partners with CareCredit® for low-cost financing options for making quality dental care even more affordable.
Gum Grafting FAQ
Does gum grafting hurt?
A gum tissue graft should not cause pain. Our dentists utilize a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area during the procedure. You may experience pressure or movement, but you should not experience any significant pain.
How long does gum grafting take?
Gum grafting typically takes 1 – 1.5 hours. If you have receding gums and are seeking treatment, contact our office to find out if gum grafting can benefit you.
What foods should I avoid after a gum graft procedure?
There are certain foods we recommend avoiding to protect your new gum graft. These foods include:
- Crunchy foods like popcorn, potato chips, or nuts
- Spicy foods like peppers
- Citrus, including fruits, tomatoes, or lemonade
- Sticky substances like candy or bagels
- Tough substances like raw vegetables or steaks
Treatment for Gum Recession
Gum grafting can bring your smile and oral health back into balance after gum recession has occurred. When the gums recede, the appearance of the smile often changes and the tooth roots are more at risk for cavities and damage. A gum graft from Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 may be just what you need to bring your gumline back to a healthier, more attractive level on your teeth. If your smile has been affected by gum recession, we welcome you to partner with our skilled team for the personalized care your smile deserves. Get in touch with our Houston, TX team today and schedule your gum grafting consultation.