As gums recede, they tend to cause more of your teeth to show, which will make you look older and a little less attractive. It also exposes the roots of your teeth, making them more susceptible to get cavities. Getting a gum graft to correct your gum problems can correct it, but you need to know some things about it before you make the decision.7 Things to know before considering a gum graft.
The Cause of Gum Recession
Although there are some other causes of receding gums, it is often caused by bacteria and inflammation that are destroying it. If you smoke, it will likely be even worse because the nicotine reduces the oxygen in your gums, which causes the cells in them to die faster.
The bacteria and inflammation will continue to destroy your gums. Normally, these bacteria cannot enter the gums, but by brushing too hard, or not providing good oral practices, they will find an entrance and get in. Once they do, the process is nearly unstoppable without the help of a dentist. Before long, the teeth will become loose and then may fall out.
Gum disease is also connected to other severe health problems which may include cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and many more. The sooner it is treated the better off you will be.
This makes it necessary to treat gum disease prior to having a gum graft. Normally, you can remove gingivitis on your own, which is early gum disease, by brushing twice a day and flossing. Once it becomes periodontitis, non-surgical and surgical treatments may be necessary.
Benefits of Gum Grafts
Getting gum grafts can restore the way your gums look, giving you a healthy-looking smile. They will also protect your gums from bacteria and acid attacks. If your teeth had become sensitive because the roots were exposed and a cavity had started, the gum graft surgery should stop the sensitivity.
Before Gum Graft Surgery
You need to do very little prior to the surgery. You will have a consultation with the dentist so that you can provide some information. You will discuss which gum graft options are available, and which one you want. You will also discuss which type of anaesthesia you prefer. Most people get local anesthesia, but some people may prefer general anaesthesia. You will need to have transportation home since you likely will not be able to drive safely.
Three Gum Graft Options
There are three different ways that the dentist can provide you with a gum graft. They include:
Connective Tissue Grafts
This one obtains tissue from above your palate. First, a flap is cut into your palate. Then, some of the tissue above it is harvested to use as your new gum tissue. The flap is then stitched closed.
Free Gingival Grafts
This procedure is simpler than the above because it simply harvests tissue directly from your palate. It is used on patients where more gum tissue is needed to repair the gums.
In this grafting procedure, the dentist cuts your gums next to the vacant place, leaving one side still hinged. It is then pulled over to cover the empty space next to it and stitched in place.
Some claim that the above three procedures have a rather painful recovery time, but the pain is usually handled well with over-the-counter medications. Some people go back to work the next day, but most are likely to need two or three days. Since gums tend to heal rather fast, recovery time is normally completed within one-to-two weeks.
Pinhole Surgical Technique
This new procedure has several advantages over other procedures because it is much simpler and all your gums that need treatment can be completed in one appointment. Using the pinhole surgical technique, the dentist will make a small hole above the gums that need to be moved down, and then slides them into place. Collagen strips are then placed under the moved gums to help hold them in place and to encourage healing.
Follow the Instructions
When the surgeon has completed the surgery, you will be given a set of instructions to follow. In order to have faster healing, you will need to follow the instructions carefully.
Some complications are possible as a result of gum surgery. You may experience swollen gums, sensitive teeth, infection, and possibly teeth feeling looser – but this should only be temporary. There is also the possibility that the grafting could fail and may need to be redone.
Your dental insurance plan will often cover gum graft surgery to help prevent or stop gum disease. It is not likely going to cover gum graft surgery for purely cosmetic purposes.