If you’ve recently been told by your dentist or gum doctor (periodontist) that you need a gum graft, don’t panic. Gum surgery sounds worse than it is. A gum graft may be necessary to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of gum recession, or you may choose to have one to improve the appearance of your smile. Gum recession is the process in which the tissue that surrounds the teeth pulls away from a tooth, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root. This can cause damage to supporting bone. Gum recession is a common dental problem; it affects 4% to 12% of adults and often goes unnoticed until it becomes more severe. Many people don’t even notice that their gums have receded because it is a gradual process. However, over time, an exposed tooth root can not only look ugly but can cause tooth sensitivity, especially when eating cold or hot foods. Eventually, gum recession, if not treated, can cause tooth loss. To repair the damage and prevent further dental problems, a gum tissue graft may be needed. Here’s what you can expect during and after a gum tissue graft procedure. If you’re looking for a gum graft in Calgary you’ve come to the right place. We have years of experience performing gum grafts to reduce sensitivity, and improve the look of your smile. Schedule your appointment today.
Three different types of gum tissue grafts are typically performed. Which type your dentist uses on you will depend on your specific needs. The graft procedures include:
Some dentists and patients prefer to use graft material from a tissue bank instead of from the roof of the mouth. Sometimes, tissue-stimulating proteins are used to encourage your body’s natural ability to grow bone and tissue. Your dentist can tell you which method will work best for you.
You will be able to go home following the procedure. However, if your dentist gives you a sedative to help you relax, you will need to make arrangements to have someone else drive you home.
Your dentist will give specific instructions regarding postoperative care, such as diet, physical activity, and medications. Do not floss or brush the gum line that was repaired until the area has healed. You will be asked to rinse your mouth with a special mouth rinse to help control plaque during the healing process, and you may be put on an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection.
For a week or two following gum grafting, eat soft, cool foods, such as eggs, pasta, Jell-O, yogurt, cottage cheese, well-cooked vegetables, and ice cream.
The amount of pain you have after surgery depends on the type of gum graft performed. If no tissue is removed from your palate, you should have little to no discomfort. However, if tissue is removed from your palate, you may be uncomfortable for a few days following the procedure. The wound on the roof of your mouth has been described as feeling like a major pizza burn, but the good news is it tends to heal quickly. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or prescription pain medication can help keep you comfortable in the days following surgery.
While it may take a week or two for your mouth to fully heal, you should be able to return to work or normal activity the day after surgery.
Call your dentist if you experience any unusual symptoms following surgery, including:
Many dental insurance companies will pay a portion of the cost of gum grafts. If you don’t have insurance, the cost of gum surgery will depend on how much work is being done. Talk to your dentist to learn about your payment options.
While gum tissue grafts are effective at repairing gum recession and preventing further damage, there is no guarantee that gum problems won’t develop again in the future. However, with regular dental checkups and careful dental care at home, serious damage requiring surgery can be prevented. Other ways to prevent gum disease include: