Gum recession is quite common and very noticeable when patients have periodontal or gum disease. Gum recession is when your gum line moves down to the root of your tooth. You may have recession on one tooth or several of them. It may not bother you but it can cause sensitivity to your root, tissue inflammation, exposure of the root, and even cavities. It also changes the way your smile looks.
Gum recession needs to be fixed because you need your gums to keep bacteria away from your roots. Without gums, you may experience worse gum disease, deterioration of your gums and bone, and even loss of your tooth.
Gum grafting can help patients who believe that their teeth look too big or are embarrassed by the amount of root showing due to gum recession. It can also help bring the gums to a level where they are more attractive. Moreover, it helps keep your mouth healthy.
There are three types of gum grafting procedures, and we will use the one that will work best for you and fit your specific needs.
Connective-tissue grafts are the most commonly done grafts. They are usually done when the root is showing. Our dentist will cut a flap in the roof of your mouth, remove tissue underneath, and then stitch the area back up. Then the tissue that we removed gets sutured to your gum tissue. The two tissues will grow together and form a higher gumline.
Free gingival grafts are very similar to connective-tissue grafts. The big difference is that we use tissue directly from the roof of your mouth to suture to the gums. This is most commonly done for people whose gums are naturally thin.
Pedicle grafts uses your own gum tissue at the site. Our dentist will make a flap with your gum tissue, stretching it over the root. It then gets sutured into place. This works well if you have plenty of gum tissue at the exposed root.
We can also use grafts from a tissue bank to help patients who don’t have a lot of gum or tissue.
You will be able to go home as soon as your procedure is done. Many times, we give a sedative to help you relax during the procedure, so you will need someone to drive you home. We will give you detailed instructions for the next few days, so be sure to listen carefully.
You will not want to brush or floss the area until it has healed. We may also give you a special mouthwash to use. This helps control plaque.
You will need to eat soft foods for at least a few days and up to a week afterward. Some patients have a little pain, depending on their tolerance and the type of graft that we did. You may take an over-the-counter medication, though we can prescribe a medication for pain if needed. You should be able to go back to work in a day or two.