Your dentist has recommended you have a gum graft procedure to address gum disease. Wondering what you can expect from this dental surgery? Our Thornhill periodontist offers some insight.
What should I expect with a gum graft?
If you have gum disease, you may notice your gums recede. This can leave the roots of your teeth exposed, and their surfaces more susceptible to abrasion, sensitivity and decay.
To address the condition, your dentist or periodontist may recommend a gum graft. In this post, our periodontist will explain the benefits of the procedure, how to prepare, its success rate, and other aspects you should take into consideration.
What is a gingival gum graft?
During a gingival gum graft, tissue is removed from a patient's palate, then grafted (transplanted) to the area where the gums have receded. In some cases, we use tissue from a donor for this technique.
Benefits of a Gingival Gum Graft
A gingival gum graft can:
- 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
- Stabilize and strengthen the gum covering a tooth
- Restore the natural appearance of your smile (depending on the case)
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.
- You do not need to modify your diet or fast prior to the procedure – just show up at your appointed time.
- 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.
- The periodontist will use local anesthesia to numb the area affected by the procedure.
- 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 antibacterial mouthwash.
- You’ll be given care instructions – follow them to ensure your graft heals as it’s supposed to.
Dr. Jacklyn Altman is our periodontist at Dentistry on Green Lane. She will take the following steps to perform the gum graft procedure:
Local anesthesia is injected at the graft harvesting site (where tissue will be removed from the palate), and on the area receiving the transplant.
The graft tissue is harvested.
The tissue will be grafted onto the site where gum is receding.
The success rate for gum grafts very high. Typically, likelihood of success increases considerably when patients brush and floss correctly following the 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 need 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.