What is Gum Recession and why do I have it?
Gum recession is the process where the tissue that surrounds the teeth pulls away from a tooth, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root.
Many people don’t even notice that their gums have receded, because it’s a very gradual process. However, over time, an exposed tooth root not only looks unattractive, but can also cause tooth sensitivity, especially when eating cold or hot foods. Eventually, gum recession, if not treated, can also damage the surrounding bone of the tooth and to repair the damage and prevent further dental problems, a gum tissue graft may be needed.
The main causes of gum recession:
Do I need a Gum Graft?
If your dentist has recommended a gum tissue graft procedure it will be due to gum recession. Gum recession gradually exposes the roots of your teeth allowing the tooth root surface to become more sensitive and more prone to decay. You will be referred by your dentist to a periodontal specialist for this type of surgical procedure.
What is a Gum Graft?
There are three types of gum grafts that are performed and your periodontist will discuss these options with you before deciding which method is most appropriate depending on your individual needs.
– Connective tissue graft – the most common of all of the grafts in treating exposed tooth roots. This is where new tissue will be added to cover your exposed tooth roots. A flap of skin is cut at the roof of your mouth (palate) and tissue from under the flap is removed and then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root(s). After the graft has been performed the palatal flap is stitched back down.
– Free Gingival graft – This method of graft also uses tissue from the palate (roof of the mouth.) A small amount of tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth (rather than from underneath a flap of exposed palate) and is then attached to the gum area being treated. Patients with already thin gums tend to need this type of graft as it provides additional tissue to prevent further recession.
– Pedicle graft – The flap of tissue lifted (known as the pedicle) is a partially cut section of ‘’local’’ tissue cut from the gum around or near the tooth needing repair. Whilst one edge of the flap remains attached, the gum is then pulled over or down covering the exposed root and is then sutured into place. This procedure can only be done in people who have plenty of gum tissue near the tooth being treated.
Recovery from a Gum Grafting Procedure
A gum graft is a quick and relatively simple dental procedure, performed to correct the effects of gum recession. The procedure has a relatively short recovery period of 1- 2 weeks with most patients returning to their usual activities just 1 day after surgery.
It is common for patients to experience some soreness in the treatment area for a day or so after surgery and chewing foods can be tricky for about a week after treatment. Patients are advised about what they should and shouldn’t eat during the healing phase and teeth and gums should be kept clean. Your Periodontist may recommend that you avoid brushing the treatment area however to avoid irritation, and to instead, use a prescribed mouth rinse.
Benefits of a Gum Graft Procedure
Gum grafts are an effective method of arresting the process of gum recession and bone loss. Gum grafts can also help to reduce tooth sensitivity and protect the roots of your teeth from decay.
A gum graft is also aesthetically pleasing giving patients a more even gumline improving the appearance of teeth and gums when smiling or laughing.
While gum tissue grafts are effective at repairing gum recession and preventing further damage, there is no guarantee that other gum issues won’t develop in the future if you are not maintaining a good oral health regime so we would always recommend booking a hygiene maintenance package to keep your gums healthy all year round.
If you would like to find out more about Gum Grafting procedures or would like to book a consultation to discuss any Periodontal treatments at LPID please contact us on 0207 563 9989