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Gum graft surgery, also known as gingival grafting or gum tissue grafting, is a procedure to reverse gum recession. Gum recession is the process in which the gum tissue around a tooth pulls away, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth's root. This can cause damage to the supporting bone. Gum graft surgery is done by taking gum tissue from another part of your mouth and attaching it to the receding gum line. This helps to cover the exposed root and protects it from further damage. It also helps to improve the appearance of your smile.

Let's Take a Closer Look at your Gums

To keep your smile healthy and looking its best, it's important to take good care of your gums. Most people are aware that they should brush their teeth at least twice a day, but many fail to realize it is just as important to brush the gums. Plaque and bacteria can accumulate on the gum line, which can lead to gum disease if it is not addressed promptly.

What Are Some Signs of Unhealthy Gums?

At one time or another, most people have experienced some degree of gum inflammation. Usually, this is nothing to worry about and can be resolved with good oral hygiene. However, in some cases, gum inflammation can be a sign of a more serious problem. If the gums are excessively red or bleed easily, it may be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a progressive condition that can eventually lead to tooth loss.
  • Inflamed gums can be a sign of gum disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque isn't removed through daily brushing and flossing, it can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
  • One of the most common signs of gum disease is bleeding gums when brushing, flossing or even just eating. If you notice your gums bleeding, it's important to see a dentist right away. Gum disease is a serious infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss, so it's important to get it treated as soon as possible.
  • Gum recession is the loss of gum tissue along the gum line. This can happen for a number of reasons, including gum disease, over-brushing, or genetics. When gum recession occurs, the roots of your teeth are exposed. This can make your teeth look longer than normal and can cause sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
  • If you suffer from excess saliva, you're not alone. In fact, it's a fairly common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, and one of them is gum disease.
  • It's not unusual to have a loose tooth or two as you get older. As the gum tissue starts to recede, the roots of your teeth become exposed and can eventually lead to tooth loss.

When Is Gum Graft Surgery Needed?

Periodontal disease is not just a problem when you get older. As many as half of all American adults over thirty years of age experience gum disease in some form. It might be mild gingivitis or even severe periodontitis. The longer it progresses, the more damage occurs to the underlying connective or soft and tissue in the gums and gum recession can begin. The sooner the disease can be diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated, and there are more options for preserving the gum tissue. In the early stages, deep cleaning may be performed to remove bacteria and tartar from the gum line. But recession isn't always visible to the naked eye, which is why it's important to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. If your gum recession is severe, your dentist may recommend a gum graft.

How Does Gum Graft Surgery Work?

Gum graft surgery, also called gingival grafting or gum tissue grafting, is a procedure performed in the office to restore your natural gum line. The gum tissue is either taken from the palette or soft tissue in your mouth, or donated from a tissue bank. The graft is then attached over the tooth to sufficiently cover the exposed roots. Depending on your procedure, the recovery period usually takes a few days and you can resume your normal activities within a week.

What Is a Free Gingival Graft?

Free gingival grafts are a type of periodontal surgery used to treat gum recession. The gum tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and transplanted to the area of recession. This method is often used for patients who have thin gums due to genetics. Free gingival grafts can also be used to cover exposed tooth roots. The Procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia and requires no sutures. The donor site usually heals within two weeks. There may be some initial discomfort after the procedure, but this can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication. Most patients report excellent results after a free gingival graft and experience an improvement in gum health.

A small flap in the roof of your mouth is opened and a piece of connective tissue is removed from under the top layer of tissue. This tissue is then stitched to the area that needs gum tissue. In most cases, this type of graft is successful in repairing the damage and protecting your teeth from further harm.

What Is a Pedicle Graft?

A small piece of connective tissue is taken from underneath your lip or palate. This tissue is called a pedicle, and it's used to cover the exposed root surface. The pedicle is sutured into place, and the resulting flap covers the recession. In some cases, an additional piece of donor tissue may be needed to provide sufficient coverage.

What is the gum surgery recovery process like?

The average amount of time it takes to heal after a gum grafting procedure is somewhere between 10 and 14 days. During this time, it is important to eat soft foods and avoid anything that might irritate the grafted area.

Some examples of soft foods that patients can eat include: mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, soup, macaroni and cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, pudding, Jell-O, and yogurt.

Patients should also avoid chewing gum or eating hard candy during this time period. Once the grafted area has healed, you should see a significant improvement in the appearance of your gums. It is normal to experience some discomfort, tenderness and/or pain during the first few days after your procedure. You will need to rest for at least 48 hours after your surgery, which means no physical activities. Walking is okay, but nothing more strenuous. You may also experience some bruising and swelling around the incision site. This is normal and will eventually go away. If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, please don't hesitate to contact your doctor. Recovering from gum grafting surgery is important for the long-term success of the procedure.

One of the most important things to do during the recovery process is to avoid brushing or flossing around the grafted area. This is to prevent any disturbance to the area which could cause it to heal incorrectly. Instead, patients will be given a special mouthwash to use which will help control any plaque buildup.

By following these guidelines, patients can ensure that their gum grafting surgery is successful.




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I consulted multiple periodontist before I selected NC Periodontics & Implant Center. Dr. Walters did two free gingival gum grafting surgeries for me. Both were very successful. Dr. Walters is very professional, thorough, patient, and caring. He was calling after surgery to check on me and brought me in to the office when I reported a loose suture before my scheduled followups. If I would have any complains, it would be that the assistant of my first surgery seemed new and inexperienced which is understandable. But the other assistant for my second surgery was excellent! Overall, I am very satisfied with the experience with them.

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I was referred to NC Periodontics by my regular dentist because I had dental problem. I got an appointment for the next day with Dr. Walters. I walked into the office and was immediately welcomed. I saw Dr. Walters team after very short wait. He examined my problem and we talked about multiple options. They also immediately contacted my insurance company and got coverage information and provided quotations for 4 different options to fix my problem. I was very pleased and impressed with the effort and involvement of so many people on my problem. They are clearly hands above many in customer service. I will be back there for treatment shortly. Thank you very much

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I had to have extensive gum surgery. The results were remarkable. The staff are all very kind and caring. And on a personal note the day of my original surgery date I lost a pet to a disease that morning within hours of calling them to let them know I had to cancel they sent me flowers to my home. Sincerely a very happy client