Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that is performed to cover exposed root surfaces or to build up gum tissue that has been lost due to periodontal disease. The procedure involves taking gum tissue from another area of the mouth (or using donated gum tissue) and attaching it to the gums around the teeth. Gum grafting can be used to improve the aesthetics of the smile and to protect the roots of the teeth from damage.
If you are in need of a gum graft in Bethesda, MD, contact our office today. Our experienced periodontists can help you achieve the healthy and beautiful smile you deserve.
Reasons for Gum Graft
There are several reasons why a person may need gum grafting. Some of the most common reasons include:
- To cover exposed tooth roots: When the gums recede, the root surfaces of the teeth become exposed. This can cause sensitivity and an increased risk of tooth decay and infection. Gum grafting can help to cover the exposed roots and protect the teeth.
- To improve the aesthetics of the smile: Exposed tooth roots can also make the teeth look longer than they actually are. Gum grafting can help to create a more aesthetic smile by covering the exposed roots.
- To protect the teeth from damage: Exposed tooth roots are more susceptible to damage from chewing and other forces. Gum grafting can help to protect the roots of the teeth and make them more resistant to damage.
- To restore gum tissue that has been lost due to periodontal disease: Periodontal disease can cause the gums to recede and the tissue to be lost. Gum grafting can help to restore the lost gum tissue and improve the function of the gums.
What Causes Receding Gums?
Regardless of whichever contributing factor led to your need for a gum graft, the recessed gum tissue that resulted is the concern we must address. So, what causes receding gums? Below are a few of the most common causes:
- Brushing too hard: Brushing your gums too hard can cause the gum tissue to recede. It is important to use gentle strokes with a soft-bristled brush when brushing your teeth.
- Periodontal disease: Periodontal disease is the leading cause of gum recession. This bacterial infection destroys the gum tissue and bone around the teeth.
- Genetics: Some people are simply more susceptible to gum recession due to genetics.
- Trauma: Trauma to the gums can cause them to recede. This can be from an injury or from wearing ill-fitting dental appliances like dentures.
The Impact of Gum Recession
While some patients may make the mistake of assuming gum recession is no more than an aesthetic concern, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In actuality, gum recession can have a significant impact on your oral health. Some of the most common effects of gum recession include:
- Tooth sensitivity: Gum recession can expose the root surfaces of the teeth, which can make them more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
- Increased risk of tooth decay: Exposed tooth roots are more susceptible to decay because they do not have a dense protective layer of enamel.
- Loss of bone and tissue: Gum recession can lead to the loss of bone and tissue around the teeth. As a result, teeth are more likely to fall out.
- Increased risk of infection: Gum recession can create pockets between the teeth and gums, which can become infected.
Types Of Gum Grafts
There are several different types of gum grafts that can be used to treat gum recession. The type of gum graft that is best for you will depend on the extent of the gum recession and the treatment objectives. The gum grafts we offer at our office include the following:
- Connective tissue graft: A connective tissue graft involves taking a small piece of tissue from another area of the mouth and attaching it to the gums.
- Free gingival graft: A free gingival graft involves taking a small strip of tissue from the roof of the mouth and attaching it to the gums.
- Alloderm graft: An alloderm graft involves using a sheet of donor dermal material to stimulate natural tissue growth and cover the exposed roots. This eliminates the need of taking tissue from another area of the mouth.
Gum Grafting FAQs
What causes receding gums?
Orthodontics – When your teeth are shifted rapidly, the roots of your teeth can be moved to an area with thinner bone.
Genetics – Based on the bone density that you are born with, you may be more prevalent to receding gums.
Periodontal Disease – The impacts of periodontal disease are not strictly confined to your gums. It can impact your bone levels as well.
Why fix receding gums?
What are the three types of gum grafts?
Donor Tissue (Alloderm), Connective Tissue Grafting, and Free Gingival Graft.
How to fix receding gums?
Will there be pain?
You should not experience any pain during the treatment since you will be numbed and possibly IV sedated if given the option. However, more of the pain is experienced during the recovery period of the treatment.
How long is recovery?
Typically, following treatment, there is a gum graft healing timeline. This timeline consists of the first four days having the most swelling and discomfort. After this, the five to seven days following the treatment is where the pain level starts to decrease as well as this is when you are most likely to tell if the graft is going to be successful or not. About a week to two weeks following the procedure, you can tell if the graft is integrating correctly or not. Around the one-month mark, your sutures will be removed, and your doctor will determine a success level. Following the one-month mark, your tissues will continue to integrate and esthetically blend with the surrounding tissue for the next couple of months.