Severe periodontal disease can affect the structure and stability of the teeth, and as part of the treatment, the dental specialist would first have to strengthen the receding or weak gums.
Depending on what the underlying cause of the dental problem is, the dentist may recommend that gum grafting be done. Here is some useful information that will help you understand what is involved in the gum graft procedure and when you might need it.
What is a Gum Graft?
A gum graft involves transplanting soft tissue from the mouth onto the area where the gum has receded or been affected by severe periodontal disease. The donor tissue used in grafting is typically taken from the upper palate or roof of the mouth. This process is called the subepithelial connective-tissue graft method, which is the most standard type of gum grafting and has an excellent success rate.
In What Cases is Gum Graft Necessary?
Soft tissue grafting generally follows treatment for any severe periodontal disease. For most patients, gum recession is quite a slow process, which is why it goes unnoticed. Any exposure from the lack of supporting tissues affects tooth health, making them less stable as well. There are two main reasons why gum grafts may be necessary:
- Exposed Roots
Gum tissue effectively protects the teeth roots and the underlying dentin layer (which is very sensitive) from debris & bacteria in the mouth. Without the right amount of gingiva covering teeth roots, most patients find it quite uncomfortable to consume cold and hot foods. Gingival recession can ultimately result in bone loss too. In a gum graft, new soft tissue is placed over the roots, and this encourages continued growth of very healthy tissue.
- Cosmetic Adjustments
If considerable gum disease or some other dental condition has caused gum recession, it creates an elongated appearance of the crown. Placing some additional soft tissue can help balance your smile while creating a natural and proportional appearance.
After the treatment, the site where the grafting was done, needs to be cared for properly. This helps to ensure that the tissue that has been transplanted fuses and heals correctly, and there is no infection. Some things to keep in view or follow:
Most dentists use dissolvable sutures in this procedure, and you should not be alarmed of the stitches begin to come apart within a few days post the procedure. In case the graft shifts or the sutures open up prematurely, you must contact your dental specialist without delay.
- When eating, it’s crucial to avoid biting or chewing with the treated area as much as possible.
- It’s also crucial to avoid sticky, hard, or spicy foods to reduce the effects of your diet on the gum graft site.
- You would need to make sure that the graft doesn’t become dislodged, and this means you would have to limit your physical activities.
- Till the time the site heals entirely, you can do some light aerobic activity like walking.
- Rinse the site gently after 24 hours to keep it clean. But you mustn’t floss or brush anywhere near the area where the treated tissue is.
The only way you can know whether you need soft tissue grafting is by consulting an experienced and knowledgeable dental specialist. If you have undergone any form of extensive treatment for periodontal disease, or if your gums have receded well below the crown, you should contact your dentist without delay. The gum grafting procedure is a proven and reliable dentistry technique, so schedule your consultation to find out whether it’s the right option for you.