Gum grafting is only needed when your gums have receded to the point that there isn’t enough gum tissue left to cover the roots of your teeth. In this minor surgery, you use donor tissue material or tissue taken from a different part of your mouth, such as the roof of your mouth. Then it’s grafted where it’s needed most to cover exposed tooth roots. Your gum graft recovery is only a week or two, and by then, your smile will be healthy once more.
If you have receding gums, you might need gum disease treatment. During your regularly scheduled dental exam, Dr. John Koutsoyiannis at Sohosmile looks over your teeth and gums. If he discovers you have severely receded gums, you may require surgery in the form of a gum graft.
A gum graft procedure involves taking healthy gum tissue from other areas of your mouth and grafting it onto the places where your gums have pulled back from your teeth. Another popular method is using donor tissue material, and using allografting techniques to build up your gums. Gum grafting is sometimes used as part of a gum contouring procedure.
By repairing your receding gum line, you protect the exposed roots of your teeth while improving your smile. Protecting your teeth contributes to your overall dental health and prevents future problems. Improving your smile is a cosmetic dentistry perk that you get from a skilled cosmetic dentist like Dr. John: better health and a less toothy smile.
Types of Gum Graft Surgery
The Sohosmile cosmetic dental boutique practice offers different types of gum graft surgery:
- Allografting techniques. This is often used when your dental surgeon needs a larger amount of graft tissue.
- APRF. This technique delivers blood-derived growth factors to speed your recovery.
- Connective tissue graft. Connective tissue is removed from the roof of your mouth and sutured onto the affected area.
- Pedicle/lateral graft. Gum tissue comes from the immediate area and is placed over your receding gums. This works well when you have healthy gum tissue surrounding a receding gum line.
- Free gingival graft. Like a connective tissue graft, the roof of your mouth supplies the tissue, which is grafted to the receding gum line.
When having gum graft surgery, you’re likely to feel some mild-to-moderate discomfort. But you should be able to resume daily activities the following day. Other temporary side effects from the procedure may include:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
The Gum Grafting Procedure
Dr. John performs gum graft surgery in the comfort of the relaxing Sohosmile office. While every case is a bit different, the procedure follows some basic steps:
- You’re made as comfortable as possible.
- A numbing agent is applied to the area of injection.
- A local anesthetic is injected to the areas of tissue grafting.
- If you’re undergoing a free gingival graft or a connective tissue graft, your dentist removes the graft tissue once the source area has been sufficiently numbed.
- The graft tissue then is sutured to your gums.
- Once the procedure is complete, an antibacterial rinse cleans and soothes your mouth.
- You’re monitored for a period to ensure there are no complications before you’re able to go home.
Complications from the surgery are rare. But there are risks with every surgical procedure, no matter how minor. The risks of this surgery include:
- In rare cases, a graft may not adhere. A second surgery may then be necessary.
- Infrequently, the graft doesn’t produce the desired visual result. Your dentist may suggest laser gum surgery to reshape your gums.
Gum Graft Recovery and Aftercare
Follow instructions closely during the healing process. Gum graft recovery can take a few days or a few weeks. Notify your dental team if you have any questions or concerns.
During your gum graft recovery, pay special attention to your dental hygiene regimen. Your recovery typically includes instructions to:
- Eat a soft foods diet
- Take prescription or over-the-counter medications for pain, as needed
- Avoid any tobacco
- Do not drink any alcohol
- Avoid brushing or flossing for a few days in the affected area for a day
- Do not brush or floss the graft area until after the stitches come out
The Cost of Treatment
The cost of your gum grafting treatment depends on the type of procedure you have. Many insurance plans offset your costs. As is the case with all your oral health care, the cost of taking care of your problem is much less than the costs of letting it worsen through inaction. The longer your tooth roots are exposed, the more pain and complications you encounter.
Sohosmile is conveniently located on 206 Spring Street in SoHo. The cosmetic and family dentistry practice serves all of Lower Manhattan, including Downtown NYC, Tribeca, the Financial District, Greenwich Village, Hudson Square, West Village, South Village, NoHo, Nolita and Battery Park City. Schedule a consultation today.