Gum grafts restore the fullness and height of shrunken gums. They strengthen the soft tissue that protects the teeth and restores a beautiful smile. Gum grafting is a dental surgery that can be preventive, restorative and aesthetic.
The Stage of a Gum Transplant
The dentist will first treat the cause of receding gums before he looks at a gum transplant.
The dentist will assess the degree to which the gums have receded and the possibility of getting worse. They can advise you, depending on the case:
- Using a less vigorous brushing technique using a soft-bristle brush.
- To treat gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Remove any mouth piercings. -
- Wear a night guard to avoid grinding of teeth.
Good hygiene and scaling, combined with medical attention, may be sufficient for the mildest cases.
Your dentist may suggest a gum grafting if your teeth are at risk of falling out or if the pain caused by your dental root is too severe.
However, when periodontium is too badly damaged with substantial bone loss, soft tissue graft alone is not recommended because the gum does not have enough bone to sustain it.
How the procedure works
Gum grafting is done under local anaesthetics as an outpatient treatment. It lasts approximately one to three hours.
The procedure consists of grafting a thin layer of soft tissue onto the receded part of the gum, putting it where the tissue is loosening to prevent it from progressing.
Gum grafts have a variety of objectives:
- To protect the exposed root from wear and tear, cavities and to alleviate its sensitivity.
- To thicken the gum to keep it from receding again.
- Make a new gum if the gum is not high enough.
- To improve the appearance of the gums next to the teeth that are apparent while smiling or talking.
The procedure is conducted in several steps.
Preparation of the site that will receive the graft
The dentist will streamline the gum with a scalpel or small curettes to prepare it to obtain the new tissue.
Removing the tissue of the graft
The palate contains two layers of tissue: the epithelium on the surface and the deep connective tissue.
Depending on the person, the dentist may remove a shred of tissue from either the external epithelial layer or the connective tissue in the subepithelial layer. They will then stitch the epithelium to cover the wound.
In certain cases, a collagen graft substitute is used by the dentist. They will no longer remove tissue from the palate however, it is not possible to treat every client with this kind of substitute bio-material.
The dentist will put the graft where the gum has receded and then cover it with an adjacent piece of gum. Then, they will stitch it up and apply a dressing to secure the gum from infection during scarring.
After grafting the gum, the dentist will prescribe painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory medications to avoid inflammation and possible complications.
The patient can experience bruising and swelling of the cheek. If there is some bleeding, it is advisable to protect the grafting by biting into a sterile compress rather than using a mouthwash.
For the first few days, the patient should stop eating and brushing his teeth in the grafting area, and then use a soft-bristle toothbrush.
It takes the new gum three to four months to heal fully.
Progress of surgery can be compromised if the patient begins smoking again too soon afterwards.
The results are noticeable from the first few weeks and continue to develop for 6 to 12 months after the operation. The bare parts of the gums will regenerate and the soft tissues will be reinforced.
It is now possible to restore 50 to 70% of the receding gums. On average, they can be restored to about 75% of their height.
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