Considering a gum graft? Here's what you should know

If your dentist has recommended a gum graft, you might be wondering what happens during this procedure and how to care for yourself following it. Here, our West Kelowna dentists explain what a gum graft procedure entails and how to perform proper after-care.

What should I expect with a gum graft?

Gum disease can lead to receding gums, which exposes the teeth and can leave you more vulnerable to sensitivity, abrasion, and decay.

Your dentist may recommend a gingival gum graft to help this condition. Below, our West Kelowna dentists will discuss the benefits of this procedure, how to prepare for it, and all other relevant factors to take into consideration.

What is a gingival gum graft?

A gingival gum graft is when gum tissue from another part of the palette is removed and then grafted into the area where the gums have receded. There are some cases that require using tissue from a donor.

Benefits of a Gingival Gum Graft

The benefits of a gum graft procedure include:

  • Protect the tooth against further gum recession
  • Decrease sensitivity in teeth where the gum has worn away by covering the exposed root with new gum tissue
  • Stabilize and strengthen the gum covering a tooth
  • Restore the natural appearance of your smile (depending on the case)

How to Prepare

  • Two appointments are needed for a gum graft: the first to perform the surgery and the second to remove sutures and check that the graft is healing correctly.
  • You do not need to modify your diet or fast prior to the procedure – just show up at your appointed time.
  • You’ll want to arrange a ride to and from your appointment, as you’ll be taking medication for pain and discomfort, which may make it unsafe to drive.
  • The oral surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb the area affected by the procedure.
  • The procedure typically takes about an hour and a half.
  • Your graft will be sutured, and so you’ll need to rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash.
  • You’ll be given care instructions – follow them to ensure your graft heals as it’s supposed to.

The Procedure

Your oral surgeon will take the following steps to perform the gum graft procedure:

Step 1

Local anesthesia is injected at the graft harvesting site (where tissue will be removed from the palate), and on the area receiving the transplant.

Step 2

The graft tissue is harvested.

Step 3

The tissue will be grafted onto the site where gum is receding.

Success Rate

The success rate for gum grafts very high. Typically, likelihood of success increases considerably when patients brush and floss correctly following the procedure.

Another Option: Pinhole Surgical Technique

The Pinhole Surgical Technique is an alternative option to a gum graft and provides immediate results. This less invasive procedure involves the surgeon poking a small hole in the gum above the tooth or teeth that need treatment.

More questions about gum grafting and surgical after-care? Contact our dentists at Dr. Darren Dahlman today.

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