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Considering a gum graft? Here's what you should know

Posted Oct 21st, 2021 in Surgery

Has your dentist thrown out a recommendation for a gum graft procedure? Our Smithers dentists are hre to offer some tips on what to expect and how to prepare.

What should I expect with a gum graft?

If you are suffering from gum disease, your gums may begin to recede and expose the roots of your teeth. This can lead to more vulnerable tooth surfaces, sensitivity, abraisions, and decay.

Your dentist may recommend a gingival gum graft to address the condition. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of the procedure, how to prepare, its success rate, and other aspects to take into consideration.

What is a gingival gum graft?

A gingival gum graft involves removing tissue from a patient’s palate, and then grafting (transplanting) it to the area where the gums have receded. In some cases, this technique entails using tissue from a donor.

Benefits of a Gingival Gum Graft

A gingival gum graft can:

  • Stabilize and strengthen the gum covering a tooth
  • Restore the natural appearance of your smile (depending on the case)
  • Protect the tooth against further gum recession
  • Decrease sensitivity in teeth where the gum has worn away by covering the exposed root with new gum tissue

How to Prepare

  • Two appointments are needed for a gum graft: the first to perform the surgery and the second to remove sutures and check that the graft is healing correctly.
  • The oral surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb the area affected by the procedure.
  • You’ll want to arrange a ride to and from your appointment, as you’ll be taking medication for pain and discomfort, which may make it unsafe to drive.
  • You do not need to modify your diet or fast prior to the procedure – just show up at your appointed time.
  • The procedure typically takes about an hour and a half.
  • Your graft will be sutured, and so you’ll need to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • You’ll be given care instructions – follow them to ensure your graft heals as it’s supposed to.

The Procedure

Your oral surgeon will take the following steps to perform the gum graft procedure:

Step 1

Local anesthesia is injected at the graft harvesting site (where tissue will be removed from the palate), and on the area receiving the transplant.

Step 2

The graft tissue is harvested.

Step 3

The tissue will be grafted onto the site where gum is receding.

Success Rate

There is a very high rate of success for gum graft procedures. Patients are likely going to experience more considerable success if they correctly brush and floss following their procedure,

Another Option: Pinhole Surgical Technique

The Pinhole Surgical Technique is an alternative option to a gum graft and provides immediate results. This less invasive procedure involves the surgeon poking a small hole in the gum above the tooth or teeth that needs treatment.

A special instrument is then used to gently move the gums down to the correct position. A small angled instrument is then used to thread collagen strips or gum graft material through the entry point, where they are placed under the gums.

Do you have questions about preparing for your gum graft or post-surgical care? Our Smithers dentists can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. Contact us today.

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