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What Does Gum Grafting Involve?

Woman smiling in dental chair.
Gum grafting, also known as gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery, is a dental procedure performed to correct the effects of gum recession. It is a quick and relatively simple dental procedure that can save you from the consequences of receding gums.

Why Are They Necessary?

To start, why might one need a gum graft? The primary reason is to combat gum recession, a condition where the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the tooth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth or its root. This can lead to damage to the supporting bone and eventually tooth loss.

What’s Involved?

The first stage of gum grafting involves consultation with your dentist or periodontist. They will explain the procedure in detail, including the types of grafts. The most commonly used is the connective-tissue graft, where a flap of skin is cut at the roof of your mouth (palate), and tissue from under the flap, called subepithelial connective tissue, is removed and then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. After the graft is in place, the flap is stitched back down.

The Healing Process

During the healing process, which typically takes one to two weeks, it is recommended to eat soft, cool foods and avoid flossing or brushing at the graft site. The recovery period can take a few weeks to several months, but largely depends on the individual’s overall health and oral hygiene habits.

Gum grafting has many benefits beyond just an improved appearance. It can reduce sensitivity, protect against root decay, and prevent further gum recession and bone loss. However, like any surgical procedure, it has potential risks and complications. These can include infection, bleeding, and graft failure. But with good oral care and regular checkups, these risks are significantly minimi[z]ed.

If you have gum recession, gum grafting is a beneficial and necessary procedure. Understanding what the procedure involves can help ease anxiety and better prepare you for the process. Always consult with your dental professional to discuss your options and what would be best for your oral health.

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