A Guide to Gum Grafts

Those who smoke, have hormonal problems or suffer from gum disease often develop a receding gum line, which results in the roots of their teeth becoming exposed. In such cases, the person's dentist may refer them for gum graft surgery.

A gum graft is a procedure which aims to restore the gum tissue that has been lost as a result of a receding gum line. It is usually performed by a dental professional that specialises in periodontics (i.e. the field of dentistry that focuses on conditions which affect the structures that surround and support the teeth). Here is a brief explanation of the benefits of gum grafts, as well as some insight into procedure itself. 

What are some of the benefits of a gum graft?

There are several benefits to getting a gum graft. Covering up the exposed roots can protect the affected teeth from further decay and can also reduce the chance of tooth and bone loss in the future. This, in turn, can spare the person the pain and expense of having to replace lost teeth with dentures, bridges or implants.

This procedure can also help to improve the appearance of a person's smile and reduce the amount of dental sensitivity they experience.

What does gum grafting treatment involve?

A person who is having a gum graft performed will usually be given a local anaesthetic to numb their mouth. The tissue that is to be grafted onto their gums will be taken from either the roof of their own mouth or from a human tissue bank.

The exact steps involved in the procedure will depend on what type of gum graft the periodontist is performing. However, in most cases, they will use a sharp surgical instrument to make an opening in the patient's gums in order to create room for the graft. They will then insert the graft into this space. Following this, they will normally add several stitches to secure the newly grafted tissue into place so that it does not move out of its position during the healing process.

What kind of aftercare is needed after a gum graft has been performed?

The periodontist may prescribe their patient antibiotics to prevent the grafted area from becoming infected. They may also recommend that their patient takes some over-the-counter painkillers to alleviate the soreness that will occur after the anaesthetic wears off. Additionally, they might advise them to gently rinse their mouth with a special medicated mouthwash to help speed up the healing process and prevent infection.