Gum Grafts - What To Expect
Also known as gingival grafting, a gum grafting procedure is usually carried out by a periodontist. It is normally recommended for patients who have experienced gum recession as a result of prior periodontal disease, but can also be requested by patients who feel that their teeth look abnormally long or their gum line is uneven and they would like to make cosmetic improvements to the appearance of their smile.
Gum grafting may sound like an ominous procedure, but it is actually fairly straightforward. Nevertheless, it is also invasive, and it is hugely beneficial for patients to understand what they can expect from this procedure. Here is what you need to know about before, during and after your gum grafting surgery.
Am I a suitable candidate for gum grafting?
Before you can be approved for any form of dental procedure, cosmetic or functional, you will first need to attend a consultation so that our dentist can be sure that gum grafting is the best solution for you. Some of the basic requirements to be a suitable candidate for gum grafting include:
- You must have healthy gum tissue. Unhealthy, diseased gums are likely to cause any gum grafts to fail.
- Teeth, where the gum is to be grafted, must also be healthy.
- You must have good overall health: conditions such as diabetes and/or a compromised immune system could make you at greater risk of developing gum problems.
- You must be cleared to have the appropriate anesthesia for the procedure to go ahead.
- You mustn’t be taking certain medications such as blood thinners or anti-seizure drugs. You will be asked about any regular medications that you take before you can be approved for gum grafting.
There are several different types of gum graft and if you are found to be a suitable candidate for the procedure, our dentist will advise you which is most suitable for your individual needs.
What will happen during a gum grafting procedure?
Gum grafting is usually performed using a local anesthetic, although sedatives can also be given if required. When you arrive for your appointment, you will be made comfortable and the anesthesia provided. If you are also having sedation, this may need to be given around an hour ahead of your procedure.
Exactly what will happen during your gum grafting surgery will depend on the type of gum graft you are having. However, you can expect incisions to be made into the roof of your mouth so that a small piece of regular or connective tissue can be removed. This tissue will then be stitched to the area of your gums that requires restoration. In doing this, not only will the donor tissue cover the affected area, but it will also promote healthy tissue growth so that the gums naturally regenerate.
The entire process usually takes a maximum of two hours. Once your suturing is complete, you will complete the procedure by washing your mouth out with antibacterial mouthwash.
What to expect after gum grafting?
Gum grafting is a surgical procedure and as such, it is normal for your gums to feel sore and swollen afterward and this may persist for a number of days. Our dentist will give you very specific instructions to follow after your procedure including:
- How to clean your teeth and gums
- When to take pain medications and anti-inflammatories
- What sort of diet to follow
- Why you should avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
- What you should do if you are concerned that something isn’t quite right with the healing process
It is important to adhere strictly to these instructions as doing so will minimize the risk of complications and help you to make a smooth, straightforward recovery with the best possible results.
If you would like to find out more about gum grafting, or if you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss your suitability for the procedure, get in touch with our offices where our team will be delighted to schedule your consultation.