Gum grafting refers to an assortment of surgical procedures performed to thicken your existing gums, and to possibly cover an exposed tooth root surface to also prevent further gum recession from developing. There are several potential causes for gum recession, the most common of which is periodontal disease. This can also occur due to aggressive brushing.
In addition to improving the look of your smile, having a gum graft procedure performed can protect your teeth from the further negative effects because of the gum recession.
At DC Dental Spa we offer a broad range of periodontal services and are proficient with our deliberate dental exams and checkups. The modern dental technology available in our clinic and the peaceful setting will help us evaluate any problems we might encounter. Call 202-873-1054 for an initial consultation and let us help begin a preventive oral hygiene program that, as we work together, will keep gum disease and gum recession in check.
The Candidates for Gum Grafting
Gum grafting can sound like an intimidating procedure, but with the modern advances in techniques and materials, it can be quick and painless. There are numerous benefits that come with having the procedure performed. Following your gum graft, you will begin to enjoy:
- Better Gum Health: The most important benefit associated with having a gum graft is it can prevent the progression of periodontal disease. A gum graft can play a critical role in you avoiding future bone loss or the extraction of your teeth.
- Reduced Tooth Sensitivity: Because your gum graft will now cover the exposed root, you will notice that your teeth become less sensitive to hot or cold foods.
- Improved Aesthetic Appearance: If you are experiencing gum recession you may begin to feel self-conscious about your smile because your teeth can appear to be longer than what is normal. By having your gum graft procedure performed, your teeth will appear to be shorter and more symmetrical, which will improve the overall aesthetic appearance of your smile.
The Grafting Procedure
We will begin with the administration of a local anesthetic to numb the gums. During the surgery, small incisions will be created at the site of the gum recession to create an opening for the tissue graft. A split thickness incision will then be made to create a flap, and the tissue graft will be placed in the pocket between these two sections of tissue.
Sutures are quite often used to help stabilize the graft and prevent it from moving. You will be healed and notice uniformity of the gums in around six weeks.
The Common Types of Gum Grafting
Based on your specific gum recession needs, there are four distinct gum tissue grafts that can be performed:
- Free Gingival Grafts. A free gingival graft involves using graft tissue from your palate, or the roof of your mouth. In this process, a small portion of tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth and attached to the affected gum area. This procedure is quite effective if you already have thin gums and require additional tissue to make the gum area larger.
- Connective-tissue Grafts. This type of graft effectively treats gum recession with exposed roots. We begin by cutting a flap of skin at the roof of the mouth and removing the connective tissue from underneath the flap. It is then stitched to the gum tissue that surrounds the exposed root. Once the graft is removed, the flap at the roof of your mouth is stitched back.
- Pedicle Grafts. If you have sufficient gum tissue near the affected tooth, a graft may be created using the gum rather than tissue from the roof of your mouth. The flap of gum tissue is partially cut away with an edge remaining attached to the gumline. The gum is stretched to cover the area where the root is exposed. This gum tissue is then sewn into place.
- Allograft. An allograft is an alternative material that is not harvested from your tissue. Rather, the material is from donated human tissue that has been medically processed. You will experience less discomfort since you do not need to have tissue removed from your palate to make a graft.
Post Procedure Care and Healing
To facilitate the healing process, it is important to follow post-procedure instructions we provide you. You are to avoid hard foods for at least one or two weeks following the procedure and to avoid any foods or liquids that are either extremely hot or extremely cold. We may also prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to help avoid infection, speed up your recovery process, and to alleviate any discomfort you may be experiencing. If you follow these instructions, your gum graft will heal within one or two weeks.
The most important thing you can do after your gum graft is also continuing to practice your good oral hygiene habits. Continue to brush your teeth twice daily and for at least two minutes each time and continue flossing regularly.
Along with this consistent at home care practices, be sure you continue scheduling regular visits every six months. During these routine preventative checkups, we will conduct additional teeth cleanings and to monitor the overall state of your oral health, catching issues before they develop. By maintaining these preventative habits, you will be avoiding additional issues from developing in the future, therefore maintaining the health of your smile.
As with most dental procedures, the final cost varies determined by several factors, such as the severity of your case, number of visits, materials used, and what type of dental insurance plan you carry. DC Dental Spa does accept and work with most dental insurance programs.
Our staff will be happy to submit a pre-treatment estimate to your insurance company so you can determine what your benefits will be. We can also discuss other financial arrangements with you.
High Quality Care You Can Trust
At our downtown office of DC Dental Spa, our staff will work with you to accommodate your busy schedule. The entire team shares in the enjoyment of developing strong and lasting relationships with all our patients. We appreciate that our patients continue to place trust in us through their regular dental exams. We are thorough, deliberate, and thoughtful about exercising preventative overall dental health and delivering the enjoyment that comes with your healthy smile. Visit us today at DC Dental Spa, 730 24th St. NW, Suite 9, Washington, DC, 20037, or call 202-873-1054 for an evaluation and consultation regarding the possibility of you having gum graft to abate either the gum disease and gum recession immediately.