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Considering a gum graft? Here's what you should know

Posted in Surgery

Has your dentist recommended that you undergo a gum graft procedure? Here, our Grande Prairie dentists provide some tips on what you can expect from this surgery and how to prepare for it.

What should I expect with a gum graft?

If you have gum disease (periodontitis), your gums may recede, leaving the roots of your teeth exposed. This may leave the surfaces o your teeth more vulnerable to abrasion, decay and sensitivity. 

Your dentists may recommend a number of treatment options to address the condition. Here, we will speak with you about the benefits of the procedure, how to prepare for it, its success rate and other aspects that you should take into consideration. 

What is 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. In some cases, this technique entails using tissue from a donor.

Benefits of a Gingival Gum Graft

A gingival gum graft can:

  • Protect the tooth against further gum recession
  • Stabilize and strengthen the gum covering a tooth
  • Restore the natural appearance of your smile (depending on the case)
  • Decrease sensitivity in teeth where the gum has worn away by covering the exposed root with new gum tissue

How to Prepare

  • The procedure typically takes about an hour and a half.
  • You do not need to modify your diet or fast prior to the procedure – just show up at your appointed time.
  • You’ll be given care instructions – follow them to ensure your graft heals as it’s supposed to.
  • The oral surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb the area affected by the procedure.
  • Your graft will be sutured, and so you’ll need to rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The Procedure

An oral surgeon will take the following steps in order to perform the gum graft procedure:

Step 1

Local anesthesia will be injected at the site of the graft (where the tissue will be removed from the palate), and on the area that will be receiving the transplant.

Step 2

The graft tissue will be harvested.

Step 3

The harvested tissues will then be grafted onto the site of gum recession.

Success Rate

The success rate for gum grafts 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 surgery technique is an alternative option to a gum graft and will provide immediate results. This less invasive procedure will involve the surgeon poking a small hole in the gum above the teeth that require 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.

Do you have questions about preparing for your gum graft or about alternative treatments for periodontal disease? Our Grande Prairie dentists can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Looking for a dentist in Grande Prairie? We're happily accepting new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today. 

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