Gum Grafting Procedure
Gum grafting may sound scary, but it is a trusted method to fight gum recession.
Learn more about what to expect from a gum grafting procedure and how it can help improve your overall oral health!
What is Gum Grafting?
In the simplest terms, a gum graft is a dental procedure where tissue is taken from one place in your mouth and transferred to another. It’s necessary when an area has little or no tissue, which is common in patients suffering from gum recession or gum disease.
It is most often used when the roots of one or more teeth become exposed.
Gum grafting can save your teeth, eliminate sensitivity, and increase aesthetics.
Types of Gum Grafting Procedures
Not all gum grafting is the same. Depending on your circumstances, you may benefit more from one than another. Here are the three most common types of gum grafting and how they work.
Connective Tissue Grafting
Connective tissue grafting is the preferred procedure for treating exposed roots.
For this process, a small flap is cut from your palate. It then gets pulled back, exposing the connective tissue. The connective tissue is removed and stitched to the required area. After that, the flap on your palate will be stitched closed, and you can begin your healing process.
Free Gingival Grafts
Like connective tissue grafting, free gingival grafting involves taking tissue from your palate.
However, it is taken from the exposed part and not the connective tissue under the surface. The tissue is stitched to the necessary area. The use of free gingival grafts is most common for patients with thin gums.
A pedicle grafting procedure uses tissue from your gums, rather than cutting a piece away from your palate.
A pedicle graft involves partially cutting away a piece of the gum next to the tooth that needs covering. It is cut in a way that leaves one side of it attached. Then, the flap is folded over and stitched in the appropriate position.
Why Would I Need A Gum Grafting Procedure?
Most patients need gum grafting to treat gum recession or gum disease.
Gum recession tends to happen naturally as we age, but some things can cause it at any age. This includes poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, and severely crooked teeth.
Gums won’t grow back naturally, so professional intervention is required.
It's important to seek treatment for gum recession — ignoring receding gums can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Do Gum Grafting Procedures Hurt?
You won’t feel any pain during the gum grafting procedure thanks to local anesthetics.
However, you may experience some pain or discomfort as you begin to regain feeling. On average, 70% of patients experience mild pain for around two days.
To manage the pain after gum grafting surgery, we recommend using over-the-counter pain medicine such as acetaminophen (or Tylenol). This is because medications like ibuprofen and naproxen cause your blood to thin. That’s why you should avoid taking them until your incision spots heal.
What Can I Eat After Getting a Gum Graft?
You will have to limit your diet to soft foods for about 14 days after a gum graft.
However, it’s important to continue to get the nutrients your body needs. Unfortunately, only a handful of soft foods supply adequate nutrients. Because of this, you may want to consider a multivitamin to supplement the nutrients you may be missing.
Best Things To Eat and Drink After a Gum Graft
Worst Things to Eat and Drink After a Gum Graft
After you get a gum graft, you want to stay away from food that can reopen your incision and lengthen the healing process.
Here are some of the worst things to eat after a gum graft.
Oral Care After Gum Grafting
As you might have guessed, you'll need to make a few minor adjustments to your oral care routine following a gum graft procedure.
To prevent your incision from reopening, refrain from brushing the area for about ten days. When you start to brush the graft area again, use very light pressure.
If you use an electric toothbrush, you should wait at least three weeks before using it again – instead, switch to a regular toothbrush for the first few weeks.
Gum Graft Recovery Time
Your gums should fully heal in about two weeks. After the 14 days, you can return to your normal diet and oral care routine as long as your dentist gives you the go-ahead.
As long as you only receive local anesthetics for the procedure, you can leave by yourself immediately after your gum graft is complete. However, if you receive a sedative or opt to be put under for the procedure, you should arrange for someone to drive you.
Even if you receive only local anesthetics, take a few minutes to make sure you are safe to drive. Everyone’s body has a slightly different reaction to them, so use your best discretion.
You may experience swelling for a few days after the procedure. To minimize it, you can lightly hold a cold pack to your face for 10-20 minutes every few hours for the first day. You should also sleep with an extra pillow to keep your head elevated.
How Much Do Gum Grafting Procedures Cost?
The cost of gum grafting depends on which type of graft you get and how many teeth need covering. Because of this, the dollar amount can vary by several thousands dollars.
To get a ballpark answer, make an appointment and find out exactly what the procedure will look like for your individual needs.
Some insurance providers cover a portion or all of the costs associated with gum grafts. To avoid unexpected bills, you should contact them for full details.
Gum Grafting in Fremont, CA
Gum recession can cause serious problems. Luckily, gum grafting can fix that and our dentist in Fremont, CA is here to help restore your smile!
Schedule an appointment or give us a call today before things get worse.