Your gums may begin to recede from your teeth, exposing their roots. It can happen for many reasons, for example, gum disease, old age, genetic influence, brushing your teeth with a harsh toothbrush, or brushing with excessive force. Your dentist will almost certainly prescribe a cosmetic dental treatment like gum grafting if that happens.
The procedure is intended to assist in halting the recession and damaging the bone or the complete tooth.
Gum diseases have been considered to contribute to the deterioration of general health conditions. Diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease, poor pregnancy outcomes, and even dementia may occur from something as simple as gum erosion.
What is Gum Grafting?
Gum grafting generally involves removing a minimal amount of tissue from the roof of the mouth and placing it over the exposed area of the tooth or bone. The process is not entirely painless but worth a try.
Nowadays, there are alternatives to removing tissues from your mouth. If there are not enough tissues left in the mouth to cover the affected area, or if the quality of the tissues is not good, a donor can help. Such a donor can be a human or an animal such as a cow or pig. In exceptional circumstances, fish skin has also been used to treat gum erosion.
Recently, studies have resulted in creating a biochemical gel that can offer fantastic results. We can mention the case of the nanoparticle silver gel. If approved, your dentist may inject a small amount of this gel into the gum pockets to reduce infection and inflammation.
Researchers at the University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest university and home to the country’s only School of Dentistry, came up with the gel idea.
Your dentist will reapply the gel during regular dental appointments as part of your gum therapy.
The root of the tooth is not as strong as its enamel. Once the root loses the protection of the gums, it faces the risk of tooth decay. Unless you undergo gum grafting, gum erosion will continue to worsen, resulting in tooth loss.
What Are the Benefits of Gum Grafting?
1. Prevents Further Recession
Gum grafting is necessary when the gums have receded to an unmanageable level. Fortunately, one of the primary benefits of gum grafting would be that it helps prevent gums from receding further.
2. Prevents Root Decay and Tooth Loss
Gum recession exposes the roots of the teeth over time. When bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens are introduced into the roots, they rot. This decay results in bad oral health, tooth decay, and eventual tooth loss with time.
By reattaching fresh, healthy gum tissue to regions of recession, the tooth’s roots are reprojected and given time to strengthen.
3. Reduces the Sensitivity of the Teeth
When the gums recede, they expose regions of the tooth that lack enamel protection. When teeth and exposed roots are left unprotected by enamel or gum tissue, these become very sensitive to touch, heat, and cold. Gum grafting will provide that additional layer of protection and alleviate the discomfort associated with gum recession and exposed roots.
4. Enhances Your Smile
Gum grafting can significantly improve your smile. Your smile may appear less appealing if your gums are large, uneven, or discolored. Gum recession can also result in sensitive gums that bleed readily, making smiling after eating or brushing teeth an embarrassment. Gums seem even, natural, or healthy when new gum tissue is added by grafting.
5. Prevents Plaque Deposition
Without healthy and robust gum tissue to cover your teeth, plaque may easily penetrate under the gum line and onto other tooth regions, including the roots. This increases cavities, decay, and dental visits. The layer of gums created during the gum grafting process will help keep plaque from reaching those sensitive places and will help keep the mouth healthy in general.
Gum Grafting Cost
A single tooth gum graft will cost you as much as $2,000. Some dentists will do the procedure for $1,000-$1,200. If you do not want your dental specialist to harvest tissues from the roof of your mouth, you may use donor tissues. That will add to the cost. Besides, your dentist’s experience level and location will also influence the cost. The cost primarily depends on the following:
- The extent of damage to be repaired.
- The dental professional that performs your surgery.
- Where the tissues come from.
Gum Grafting Techniques
There are several types of gum grafts techniques to choose from. Which type you will choose will depend on you and your condition. Your periodontist will explain the methods available and the most appropriate solution for you. Before beginning the gum graft, a professional periodontist will numb the region with a local anesthetic to make the treatment painless. Additionally, your dentist may pull a part of the existing gum off to expose and clean the tooth’s root.
1. Grafts of Connective Tissue
The periodontist performs this treatment by:
- creating a flap and removing tissue from beneath the top layer of the roof of the mouth.
- stitching the tissue onto the existing gums to cover the exposed tooth root.
- stitching the flap just on the roof of the mouth beyond where they removed the tissue.
2. Free Gingival Grafts
This is the ideal technique for those with thin gums. The periodontist performs this operation by
- Removing tissue straight from the roof of the mouth
- Stitching the removed tissue to the existent gum region.
3. Grafts on The Pedicle (Lateral)
This is the ideal approach for those with a significant amount of gum tissue developing around the exposed tooth. The periodontist performs this operation by:
- Grafting tissue from the gum surrounding or near the tooth that requires treatment.
- Cutting away only a portion of this tissue, leaving one edge connected.
- Stretching the tissue over it or down, concealing the exposed tooth root, then stitching it in place.
A periodontist may get the tissue from the tissue bank rather than extracting gum tissue from a patient’s mouth.
How Bad Does a Gum Grafting Surgery Hurt?
The gum grafting surgery itself is painless. That is because the afflicted region is numbed with a local anesthetic. This operation is generally performed by a periodontist, a dentist specializing in gum disease and the gums. Other than that, you may feel movement or pressure when your periodontist completes the operation. Notify your periodontist immediately if you experience discomfort during the treatment.
Generally, a topical anesthetic’s numbing effect lasts for a few hours. As the drug wears off, patients may experience tingling and some discomfort.
How Long Does It Take for A Gum Graft to Look Normal?
While it may take a few weeks for the mouth to completely heal, you may resume normal activities the next day. You should arrange a follow-up visit with your periodontist one week following surgery to ensure the graft was adequate and that you usually are recovering.
Gum Graft Recovery: What Is the Fastest Way to Heal a Gum Graft?
Gum graft surgery does not need to follow a special diet or taking any medications. The healing process varies according to the individual or how well they cared for their gums before surgery. Arrange for a pleasant trip from and to the periodontist’s office. Ensure that you get adequate sleep the night before the operation.
1. Painkillers and Ice Packs May Assist in the Recovery of Your Gum Grafting Treatment
Whether you opt for gum grafting surgery or even a painless option to address your gum recession, you may expect some swelling following the treatment. You can use any over-the-counter medications to treat the pain. The swelling can be managed with ice packs for the first 24 hours.
2. Avoid Exercise During the Recovery of Your Gum Graft Treatment
Your dentist may request that you wait at the clinic for an hour to ensure there are no complications with your gum grafts. Allow your body enough time to recuperate following the surgery by abstaining from exercise and other intense activities for the first few days. The healing often takes weeks, so it is critical to take things carefully.
3. Continue To Use a Liquid Diet
It is critical to understand what to eat following a gum graft since your gums will be sensitive. Vitamin-rich and balanced soups and smoothies may help make the first two days following surgery’s liquid diet tasty and attractive. Blend well, avoiding items that have tiny particles, including berries. Their little seeds may become trapped in your wounds. Consume food at room temperature to minimize dental sensitivity.
4. Wash Your Mouth to Disinfect Your Gum Tissue
You must not rinse your mouth at all for the first 24 hours following gum graft surgery. Then, add one teaspoon sea salt to an 8-oz. cup of room-temperature water, then rinse with this solution after each meal or snack. This will help remove germs from your gum tissue and avoid infection. If you do not have sea salt, use table salt. The taste is not as strong as table salt because it has additives that impart a more delicious flavor than pure sodium chloride.
5. Include Vitamins a or C In Your Diet
Each of these vitamins has indeed been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and assist in healing wounds. Carrots, sweet potatoes, melons, kale, and spinach are vitamin A-rich foods. Papaya, oranges, strawberries, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and bell peppers are all vitamin C-rich foods. Assemble these vegetables and fruit in a blender until smooth and seeds and pulp are removed.
Vitamin A is believed to maintain the health of your mucous membranes while also keeping you hydrated preventing dry mouth. Keeping your gums moist during this procedure is critical for post-graft healing and recovery.
Gum Graft: FAQs
A. The tissues in the operated area will change to a pink color as the gum graft heals.
A. Do not brush or floss in the graft site for at least ten days after surgery. Then you may start brushing with an extra soft micro-nano toothbrush for another two to four days before returning to regular brushing.
A. Gum graft failure happens in less than 2% of cases. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
A. You should fully recover within two weeks, if not before that.
A. There are no limits to how many areas you can gum graft during one surgical appointment. It depends on you and your doctor.
A. Severe swelling, loosening of the sutures, infection, tissue sloughing from the upper arch are some possibilities. If you experience any of these, consult your doctor right away.
A. It is a simple procedure performed to thin the extra soft tissue. You may need it if you experience any asymmetry after a gum graft.
Gum Graft Pain and Ways to Relieve It
Follow these simple instructions to reduce your post-surgery pain:
- Use gauze pad on both sides of the spot to stop bleeding.
- Extreme physical activities will have significant affect on your blood pressure. Physical activities are not recommended after any surgery.
- Do not expose your skin to see the graft. Do not push it with your tongue.
- Eat soft and liquid food until the tissues heal. Eat cold and soft foods such as egg, pasta, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese and properly cooked vegetables.
- Use a prescribed antibiotic ointment (antimicrobial lotions) to prevent infection at the site of the repair. Taking antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of other medications. If you see any such symptoms, call your doctor.
- Pay special attentoion to not overuse the altered area when chewing.
- Do not brush your teeth for 24 hurs following the surgery.
- After that, use the mouthwash recommended by your dentist.
- Do not brush the grafting area agreesively even after the graft has healed.
- Sstitches may loosen as you heal. They should only be removed by a qualified professional.
- Make a follow-up appointment with your dentist one week after the surgical procedure.
What Does a Healing Gum Graft Look Like?
The grafts may appear white throughout the healing phase (up to 2 weeks). As the tissue heals, it will turn pink.
Is Gum Graft Surgery Worth It?
Gum grafting is a safe and efficient dental cosmetic technique that has been successfully used to cure numberless cases of receding or thinning gums. Problems and infections are possible, particularly in the absence of adequate post-operative care, but they are avoidable.
Gum Grafting: Final Word
You need gum grafting surgery to regain control of your receding gums and avoid tooth loss. Don’t be afraid. It is not something that you want to push back or neglect. Your dentist has the resources to make the surgery as painless as possible. Discuss your concerns with your dentist in detail to develop a treatment plan that you like and that gives you back your confidence.