Gum Grafting

Gum Grafting

Gum Grafting

San Luis Obispo, CA

As a periodontist, Dr. Sayre-Carstairs can provide a variety of treatment methods that benefit the health of the teeth and the appearance of the smile. Gum grafting can help improve the way a smile looks while also protecting the teeth from the effects of gum recession. We can help patients prevent tooth enamel exposure.

Call us at 805-952-1147 to schedule an appointment and learn more about treatment today.

What is Gum Grafting?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum recession is a common oral issue in the U.S. that affects about 47% of adults. There are rarely any symptoms during the early stages of gum recession, so most people are not aware of their condition until it reaches advanced stages.

Exposed teeth roots will ruin the appearance of even the best smiles. It also leads to increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages, plus it can lead to teeth falling out if left untreated. Gum grafting is an effective way to treat gum recession and prevent it from progressing.

Receding gums can also be caused by brushing too hard. Vigorous brushing wears down the gum line, and it can leave teeth roots exposed. Using proper brushing techniques can reduce a person's risk of gum recession caused by rough brushing. The benefits of getting gum grafts include:

  • Helps to stabilize and strengthen gum tissues that hold teeth in place and cover them up
  • It protects teeth against the effects of gum recession
  • Decreases teeth sensitivity once exposed teeth roots are covered up
  • Improves the appearance of the patient’s teeth

What to Expect During Gum Grafting

Local anesthetics are used to numb the areas being worked on during bone grafts. This prevents the patient from feeling pain as the dentist covers up exposed teeth roots with gum tissues. There are three main types of gum grafting, including:

  • Connective tissue grafts
  • Free gingival grafts
  • Pedicle grafts

During any of these procedures, we will ensure the patient does not feel any sensations or pain. With a connective-tissue graft, we will remove a flap of tissue from beneath the skin on the roof of the mouth. We will then attach the tissue to the area of the gum recession.

Free gingival grafts remove the surface tissue from the roof of the mouth, while the pedicle graft involves stretching the gum tissue around the exposed tooth root. Once we complete the procedure, the patient will need to give the tissue time to set. In most cases, the patient will be able to return home the same day.

Recovery After Gum Grafting

Gum grafting is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. A local anesthetic will be administered at the start of the treatment, and the patient might be given sedatives if they have dental anxiety. Once the grafts have been done, the dentist will educate the patient about ways they can take care of their gums during the recovery period. The dentist might also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infection or recommend painkillers to help manage any postoperative pain.

Patients should stick to mostly liquid and soft foods like soups and mashed potatoes, respectively, for the first 14 days after getting gum grafts. That is about the time it takes for most people to be fully recovered from the process. Those who have gum tissues extracted from their palates might experience some discomfort for the first few days after their treatment.

Call Us Today

To learn if gum grafting is the treatment you need, call us at 805-952-1147 and schedule an appointment. We will help customize the treatment to enhance your smile today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be able to talk after gum grafts?

You will. However, dentists recommend taking it easy for the first few days after gum grafting. That includes keeping talking down to a minimum. Staying off your feet and getting as much rest as possible is also recommended.

How long will the graft have a whitish color?

It is perfectly normal for grafted tissues to have a whitish color as it bonds with tissues in its new location. The tissue will return to the natural pink color of gums once fully healed. The white coloration should not be confused with an infection.

How long does gum grafting take?

The process takes about two hours for most patients. It might take longer if the periodontist needs to extract tissues from the patient's mouth. A local anesthetic is administered at the start of the treatment, so the patient does not feel pain.

Are there alternatives to gum grafting?

Yes. One of the main alternatives to traditional gum grafting is a procedure called the pinhole surgical technique. It is a less invasive approach that involves making a small hole in the patient's gumline and using a tool that goes into the hole to stretch out the gums and reposition them to their proper position.

How painful are gum grafts?

The process itself is not painful since the patient will be given a shot of a local anesthetic at the start. This prevents the patient from feeling pain while the dentist works. Depending on the type of graft performed, the patient might deal with pain and discomfort after the procedure. We will help go over how the patient can help to relieve any soreness.