A gum graft, also called a gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery, is one of several procedures in which the surgeon removes tissue from another part of the mouth to add it to the gums. It is most commonly performed in severe cases of gum recession.
Gum grafting can also be performed to reduce tooth sensitivity, especially to cold and hot foods. They can also be performed for cosmetic reasons, like giving the patient a more even gum line and a more attractive smile.
What is Gum Recession, and Why is It Bad?
In gum recession, the margin or topmost part of the gum pulls back or gets worn away. As a result, more of the tooth gets exposed. In severe cases, the tooth’s root gets exposed. Gaps or pockets form between the gum line and the teeth, allowing bacteria to build up. Untreated gum recession can damage the teeth, and the patient may eventually lose them.
Gum recession is insidious, and most people aren’t aware that they have developed it. Tooth sensitivity is a common early symptom. Sometimes, the patient may notice that a tooth seems abnormally long, or they may feel a notch near the gum line.
Types of Gum Grafts
There are different types of gum grafting procedures. However, a typical procedure involves removing gum tissue from your palate, or from a donor’s palate, and then adding that tissue to the desired area to achieve a better look and feel.
What is the Recovery Like?
The patient will be able to go home right after the procedure. The patient should not brush or floss the treatment site until it has healed. The surgeon will give them a special mouth rinse and possibly some antibiotics to control plaque and reduce the chances of infection.
The patient should eat soft foods, like yogurt, eggs, cream cheese and Jell-O, for the next week or two after the procedure. It should take that long for the patient’s mouth to heal.
Is Gum Grafting Right for You?
To determine if you could benefit from gum grafting, make an appointment at the dental practice of Samuel F. Jirik, DDS in Cabot. We also serve the Little Rock area. Our team of dental experts will be happy to evaluate the condition of your teeth, mouth and gums, and then help you make an informed decision about this procedure. Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment.