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Gum Grafting

What is gingival recession?

  • Gingival recession is a condition in which gum tissues shrink away from the crown of the tooth, making the tooth appear longer. It is commonly referred to as “receding gums.”

  • Gingival recession can result in the exposure of the root surface of your tooth.

What causes gingival recession?

  • Muscles/frenum inside your mouth can pull the gingival tissues away from your teeth.

  • Some patients have very thin gingival tissues that are prone to recession.

  • Improper tooth-brushing technique can cause recession.

What harm can gingival recession do?

  • Recession exposes the tooth’s root to the oral cavity, which may cause pain and sensitivity.

  • Exposed roots are more prone to decay and wear.

  • The remaining tissues around a recessed tooth are often very thin, fragile, and chronically inflamed, making them prone to further recession.

  • Recession is often an aesthetic concern for patients.

What can be done to treat gingival recession?

There are several surgical procedures to treat recession:

  • Free gingival graft – This procedure thickens gum tissue. A layer of tissue is removed from the palate and relocated to the area affected by gum recession.

  • Subepithelial connective tissue graft – This procedure is commonly used to cover exposed roots. Tissue is removed from the inner layer of the palate and relocated to the site of gum recession.

  • Acellular dermal matrix allograft – In this procedure, we use medically processed, donated human tissue for the graft. Using donated tissue reduces post-operative pain because there is no need to remove tissue from the patient’s palate.

Reasons for gum grafting

Gum grafting is a common periodontal procedure. Though the name might sound frightening, the procedure is commonly performed with excellent results.
Some of the benefits of gum grafting include:

  • Reduced sensitivity – When the root becomes exposed, eating or drinking hot or cold foods can cause tooth sensitivity. Gum grafting surgery covers the exposed root, helps reduce discomfort, and restores the health of the gums.

  •  Improved appearance –Gum recession and root exposure can make the teeth look longer than normal, creating a “toothy” smile. Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter, more symmetrical, and generally more attractive. Adjacent tissue can also be enhanced and augmented during the procedure to reduce the risk of further recession.

  • Improved gum health – If left untreated, recession can progressively destroy a large amount of tissue. Gum grafting can help halt tissue and bone loss, protecting exposed roots from further decay.

Are there alternatives to surgery?

  •  In some cases, if the area of recession appears healthy, surgery may not be necessary. However, gingival tissue that has been lost will not grow back.

  • Your doctor may choose to monitor your recession for a period of time to see whether or not it progresses.

What does soft-tissue grafting involve?

  • Soft-tissue grafting is a very delicate and precise procedure. It takes 30-90 minutes per site.

  • Soft-tissue grafting is done in keeping with surgical principles, with sterile instruments, good light, and a dry operative field.

  • Surgery is done under local anaesthesia and you should be completely pain-free during the procedure. If you are anxious or nervous, additional medications/sedation can be used to make you more comfortable.

  • Specific post-operative instructions will be given to you following surgery.

Is there need for ongoing care?

  • We will need to see you for post-operative visits. Our staff will arrange these appointments.

  • If grafting is done as part of your treatment for periodontal or gum disease, it is important to continue with your treatment. Gum disease can easily return if you do not continue to take proper care of your teeth and gums.

  • It is important to maintain daily home care, which includes brushing, flossing, and other techniques to remove plaque and bacteria. Regular cleaning visits are also essential to achieving and maintaining good oral health.

  • At times we may recommend the use of special mouth rinses or other oral cleaning aids that will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

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