A gum graft provides a solution for a patient suffering from a “gummy smile” or for someone with gum recession that is exposing the bony surface of the tooth that would normally be protected by gum tissue. There are different types of gum grafts; a consultation with your periodontist will outline the procedures involved to determine which one is best suited for you.
Connective tissue graft
This process involves cutting a flap in the palate (roof of the mouth), removing tissue needed to graft to the gums, and closing the flap with sutures. The removed tissue is applied where needed. The patient may experience discomfort in their palate for a few days, but the mouth heals quickly.
Free gingival graft
Tissue is removed from the palate itself and grafted as needed.
This graft involves taking gum tissue from an adjacent tooth and only partially cutting it away so that the flap can be pulled over or down and sewn in place.
Some patients may require gum grafting for cosmetic purposes, but patients suffering from gum recession can ultimately be faced with discomfort due to exposed nerve; dental decay; gum disease; and possibly tooth loss. Gum recession can occur for many reasons, some of which include:
A heavy hand and the wrong toothbrush can contribute to gum recession. The patient should be using a soft bristle toothbrush conservatively brushing all tooth surfaces. Your periodontist may recommend an electric toothbrush as their advantages include correct pressure – the patient merely guides the toothbrush to reach all areas. A timer will alert the patient when they’ve brushed the recommended two minutes. A fluoridated toothpaste should be used to promote enamel strength.
Negative habits such as smoking or tobacco use can impact gum health. But you can develop good habits as well such as learning to floss every day to remove what your toothbrush missed.
There are many things we may inherit from our ancestors. But with the tools available today, your periodontist can provide treatment to keep your teeth and gums healthy with a little help from you.
Limit sugary treats to special occasions; drink water in lieu of soda or trendy sports drinks; brush and floss daily; and visit your dentist as directed for cleaning and dental exam. Remember, great dental health is needed to support good overall health. Call our team at BC Perio if you have more questions about a gum graft.