A gum graft is a common oral surgery that is used to alleviate the negative effects of gum recession. In many cases, our oral surgeon performs gum-grafting procedures for patients with advanced gum disease. Over time, untreated gum disease attacks gum tissue and causes the gums to pull away from teeth. This can lead to unnatural exposure of the tooth and its roots. Many patients with pronounced gum recession also experience tooth sensitivity—especially when exposed to hot and cold foods. Tooth sensitivity reduces a patient’s ability to tolerate the temperature of many foods and drinks and produces discomfort on a near daily basis.
Fortunately, gum graft surgery helps reestablish the natural bond between teeth and gums while also reducing discomfort associated with tooth sensitivity.
In addition to tooth sensitivity, patients with exposed roots and gum recession hold a heightened risk for tooth loss and permanent damage to the gums and jawbones. As periodontal disease progresses, the infection erodes bone and gums, which naturally support teeth. When teeth lose support, they will eventually become loose and fall out. Fortunately, gum graft surgery helps reestablish the natural bond between teeth and gums while also reducing discomfort associated with tooth sensitivity.
Gum graft surgery involves taking tissue elsewhere in the mouth and transplanting it to an area where there is significant gum recession. Tissue used in a gum graft may be taken from the palate (the roof of the mouth), underneath the palate, or neighboring healthy gum tissue.
After this minor oral surgery, patients will undergo a healing period that may involve taking prescription antibiotics and short-term dietary changes such as eating soft foods like gelatin and pasta. Patients will be given a prescription for a mouth rinse to be used daily because brushing and flossing the surgical site is prohibited until the tissue has healed appropriately.
Most patients heal from a gum graft procedure in one to two weeks and can return to work the day after their procedure. To learn more about addressing gum recession with treatment from our oral surgeon, contact either of our convenient offices today.