Gum Grafting: What to Expect



Gum recession is a condition that causes the roots of the teeth to be exposed. Apart from being unsightly, the exposed root surface is more likely to become decayed. The surface is also likely to become sensitive, and it is more prone to abrasion. 


If you have receding gums, your dentist may recommend gum grafting. Gum grafting is a procedure that can correct receding gums. It is also known as a gingival graft, a surgical procedure that a periodontist performs. You can find out what to expect if you need the procedure.



Correcting Receding Gums



Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that helps correct gum problems. A periodontist will start by removing some healthy gum tissue from a part of the mouth, usually the roof. This tissue is then attached to the area where the gums have receded or worn away. 


The procedure is relatively simple and quick, and the patient is ready to leave soon after. There are three main types of gum grafts: free gingival, connective tissue, and pedicle or lateral graft. The periodontist will recommend the procedure that is right for you based on your needs.



Preparing for Gum Grafting



It is important to find out how to prepare for gum grafting surgery. Once you choose the most suitable graft option, all you need to do is turn up for the appointment. You do not need to change your diet before the procedure. It is, however, advisable to arrange to have transport to the appointment and back home. After the procedure, you will receive pain medication that might make it unsafe for you to drive home.



During the Gum Graft Procedure



During the procedure, you will receive local anesthesia to numb the area. In rare cases, general anesthesia may be used so that the patient will be unconscious from the start to the end of the surgery. This is not usually recommended, but it may be necessary for patients who have extreme dental fear. 


Having your needs in mind, the periodontist will perform free gingival graft, connective tissue graft, or pedicle graft. After suturing the graft, the periodontist will help you wash out the mouth using an antibacterial mouthwash. 



The Recovery Period



Caring for the graft is an important part of the grafting process. You can go home not long after the procedure is complete. The periodontist may decide to keep you for an hour or two for observation. 


This is done to make sure that everything has gone according to plan. During the first two weeks after grafting, you should try to eat cold, soft foods. Avoid hot or hard foods as they can burn or irritate the graft. 



Taking Care of the Graft



The periodontist will recommend using an antibacterial mouthwash for a few weeks after the procedure. This will help prevent plaque buildup, infections, and other gum issues. You should avoid brushing and flossing until the dentist gives you the go-ahead. Brushing or flossing while the area is still sensitive can expose the wound, or it can cause an infection. If you have any pain or discomfort, pain medications can provide relief.


Avoid performing any vigorous activities before the doctor gives you the green light. The gum graft should be completely healed within a week or two.




For more on gum grafting, visit Smile Center Ohio at our offices in Delaware or Sunbury, Ohio. You can also call 740-417-9565 or 740-965-2451 to schedule an appointment today.