What is Gum Grafting and When is it Recommended?

Gum grafting is not a term generally heard in the dental office. Hearing the word may come as a shock and even sound extremely painful. However, the procedure is not as intense as people believe it to be and it is necessary if the patient is experiencing traumatic gum loss that is leaving the root exposed. Without treatment, the problem grows more severe and can eventually lead to bone or tooth loss.

What is gum grafting?

It may sound like an extensive procedure, but gum grafting simply uses a small piece of the mouth, typically taken from the palate, to cover the area where the gum has receded. The entire procedure should not take longer than an hour or two at most and it is necessary to combat receding gums.

What are the options with gum grafting?

Connective tissue grafts

The first and most common type of gum procedure is known as a connective tissue graft. In this procedure, a dentist will remove tissue found underneath the skin located on the top of the mouth, otherwise known as the palate. The tissue will then be placed and carefully stitched on top of the receded area.

Free gingival grafts

Free gingival grafts are slightly less intrusive than connective tissue grafts. In this type of gum grafting procedure, the tissue is taken from the palate skin rather than from underneath it. The dentist then sutures it on top of the area that has receded.

Pedicle grafts

The last option for gum grafting is the pedicle graft. This treatment is usually sufficient for those who do not have extensive gum loss. Pedicle grafts will use the tissue that is already found around the tooth to cover up the receded areas.

Who needs a gum graft?

Those who need a gum graft have excessive gum recession. A sign of this is the noticeable exposure of the root of the tooth due to a lack of gum tissue. A person may also experience pain and sensitivity in the area due to nerve exposure. Bone loss may also occur at this point.

What are the benefits of gum grafts?

There are quite a few benefits in proceeding with a gum graft procedure. First and foremost, the cosmetic benefits are extensive, especially if the roots are visible on the front teeth while smiling. Secondly, gum grafting will significantly reduce the amount of sensitivity found in the area as a block of tissue now covers the roots. Lastly, a gum graft will ensure the overall health of the mouth and prevent the possibility of bone and tooth loss.

How to prevent gum disease

To reduce the chances of needing gum grafting, proper hygiene and care of the mouth are essential. Teeth should be brushed at least twice daily with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Floss should be used daily as well as an antiseptic mouthwash. Dentists can also recommend routine dental checkups and a healthy diet. Smoking tobacco and recreational drugs should be avoided to keep the mouth healthy and in excellent condition.

Gum grafting and oral health

Gum grafts are an option if extreme gum loss is present. A gum graft will ensure the health of the mouth and prevent the ongoing recession of the gum as well as bone or tooth loss.

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