Gingival Surgery/ Grafts
Gum surgery is a necessary treatment option for those patients who have gum recession. You may have been informed by your dentist or Hygienist that you could benefit from gum surgery or a ‘gum tissue graft’ as it is also called.
Gum recession is where the gum pulls away from a tooth, exposing more of the tooth and in some cases if quite extreme, parts of the root of the tooth. This can cause damage to the teeth’s supporting bone foundations. Although Gum recession is an incredibly common dental problem, it often goes unnoticed until it becomes more severe. Eventually, severe cases of gum recession can lead to tooth loss.
A gum graft or surgery to pull the gum back around the neck of the tooth can be advantageous for several reasons:
- Improve the appearance of your smile
- Protect your teeth and the supporting bone from further damage
- Decrease/prevent tooth sensitivity when eating hot and cold foods
There are numerous techniques that can be offered in Gum surgery procedures and your dentist will advise you in the best technique for your specific needs.
Local anaesthetic will be given in any technique of gum surgery so the area is completely numb. A small flap of skin is cut at the roof of the mouth and tissue from under the flap is taken, or in some cases use of tissue directly from the roof of the mouth is taken and grafted into the desired area where gum tissue is lacking. Most commonly we use a technique where instead of taking tissue from the root of the mouth, we instead cut a small flap in the desired area and only partially cut it away. The gum is then pulled over or down to cover the exposed root. We then sew the gum in place.
Post operatively, you can expect to be a little sore and are likely to have some swelling, so the use of over the counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories are commonly used. Your dentist will discuss the best ways to look after yourself after the procedure but this involves rinsing with warm salt water gently over the surgical site, eating soft foods to prevent trauma, and brushing with care.
Success rates are usually high with gum surgery if post-operative instructions are followed.