Has your dentist recommended a gum graft procedure? Here are some tips on what to expect and how to prepare for this dental surgery, from our Ontario dentists.
Why are gum grafts typically recommended?
For those suffering from gum disease, there may be other concerns such as the gums pulling away from the tooth and exposing the roots. This can leave your tooth surfaces more vulnerable to sensitivity, abrasion and decay.
Your dentist may recommend a gingival gum graft to address the condition. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of the procedure, how to prepare, its success rate, and other aspects to take into consideration.
What happens during a gingival gum graft?
A gingival gum graft involves removing tissue from a patient’s palate, and then grafting (transplanting) it to the area where the gums have receded. While the tissue typically comes from the patient, there may be casing in which the tissue must come from a donor.
Benefits of a Gingival Gum Graft
Some of the typical benefits of a gingival gum graft are:
- Protection of the tooth against further gum recession
- Decreased sensitivity in teeth where the gum has worn away by covering the exposed root with new gum tissue
- Stabilization and strengthening of the gum covering a tooth
- Restoration of the natural appearance of your smile (depending on the case)
How you can Prepare for Your Gingival Gum Graft
- 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 oral surgeon 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 should.
The Gingival Gum Graft Procedure
Your oral surgeon will take the following steps to perform the gum graft procedure:
Local anesthesia is injected at the graft harvesting site (where the 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 the gum is receding.
Success Rate of Gum Graft Surgery
The success rate for gum grafts is very high. Typically, the 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 unique 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.