Most people wonder why gums grafts become necessary at a certain point in time. The simple answer is that when your gums start to recede. The gum recession causes the root of your teeth to show. Then it is likely that your dentist in Sacramento, CA, will recommend you a gum graft to stop your gums from permanent damage.
Since it is a gradual process, it goes unnoticed most of the time by people. However, over time there are visible signs of an exposed tooth or tooth sensitivity while eating hot or cold foods. If this alarming situation isn’t dealt with immediately, then many complications can arise in the future.
It is essential to know that the health and condition of your gums play a crucial role in your overall health, along with the beauty of your smile. Gums shield the roots of your teeth and the bone that keeps your teeth securely in place. They are vital, so you must take care of them correctly and at the correct time. A lack of seriousness will do you no good.
Keep reading to find more about the entire process, along with tips for recovery.
There are many gum grafts available, but the type of surgery one needs relies entirely on the degree and severity of pain and gum recession and the needs of the individual.
Your periodontist will sit and discuss the different types of surgery with you. Then based on mutual discussion, your dentist will prescribe the best available option.
Right before the gum grafting surgery, the periodontist will numb the required area with the help of anesthesia so that no pain is felt throughout the procedure.
There are three types of gum graft surgeries:
Connective tissue grafts
It is the most common type of gum graft surgery that is performed to treat root exposure. In this procedure, the periodontist removes tissue from the roof of the mouth (palate) by making a flap and taking the tissue from underneath the top layer. This tissue is then stitched back to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root, and the connective tissue is stitched back down.
Free gingival grafts
This surgery is very similar to connective tissue grafts as it involves tissue from the roof of the mouth. However, the difference is that instead of making a flap and removing the tissues underneath the top layer, a small tissue is extracted directly from the roof of the mouth. It is then added to the gum area under treatment. This method is mainly used for thin gums and those who need additional tissues to expand the gums.
Pedicle (lateral) grafts
This method is preferred for people who have excess gum tissues growing near their exposed teeth. So, instead of taking tissues from the palate in this procedure, they are attached to the nearby gum area or to the tooth that needs repair. The flap (pedicle) is cut partly to allow the edge to remain attached; the gum is then pulled over or down to shield the bare root and then is stitched into place.
How Necessary Is It?
Many people do not realize the severity of gum grafting and look for other options or avoid it altogether. Such people should consider the following:
- Alternative treatments: This may involve extracting the tooth entirely if the gum recession is now severe.
- Cost of surgery: If you’re bearing in mind only the cosmetic factor when considering surgery, then it is most likely that you will have to cover the entire cost of the operation from your pocket.
- Severe risks of not treating: People who think they can avoid gum recession and get away with it entirely are wrong. Untreated gum recession will only end up causing severe gum diseases and, eventually, tooth loss. These gum diseases are also known to cause other health problems such as diabetes and cardiac diseases.
Preparing For A Gum Graft
Once a person, along with their dentist, decides on what gum grafting surgery option is best for them, there comes the preparation that needs to be done. It is not much. There are two things you need to do.
Your dentist will tell you to come in one day before your surgery, and you will be allowed to leave after the surgery but with a friend so that it is a safe drive home.
Cost and Insurance
Gum graft varies in price, and it can cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending upon the surgery you require.
If you have dental protection, you may get full or some part of the surgery covered by your insurance companies. Some people can have the whole procedure free depending upon the procedure plan and the particular insurance company.
It is best to talk to your dentist and learn about your payment options well before the surgery to be completely safe and well aware of how you will finance this operation. It will allow you to be relaxed and focus on other essential things like your health.
Most Important: Recovery Phase
You’re allowed to go home as soon as the procedure ends. But you will likely be given medication to help you relax and not feel the pain. So, it is advised to bring a friend or a family member along with you.
Your dentist in Sacramento, CA, will give you the required instructions concerning postoperative care. These will include your diet, physical activity, and all the necessary medications to ensure the pain doesn’t bother you. You’ll not be allowed to floss or brush the gum line that has been operated on until it has healed completely.
You will get a special mouthwash that you will be required to help control plaque during the entire healing process since you won’t be brushing your teeth. There is often a chance of infections; your dentist might use antibiotics to reduce the risk.
The following two weeks will be crucial for you, and you will only be allowed to eat soft and cool foods such as eggs, pasta, yogurt, ice cream, well-cooked vegetables, and cheese.
The pain you experience post-surgery wholly depends on the severity of the gum graft performed. There are high chances of discomfort when a gum has been removed. It will tend to hurt and burn for a while, but it will heal quickly with the help of medications, so you don’t have to worry much.
Complications That Can Arise
Although the complications and infections post gum graft surgeries are rare, they can exist if proper care is not given. It is advised to consult your doctor straight away in case of the following.
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Oozing around the graft area
- Visible spacing between the teeth
- Loose feeling around teeth
Sometimes a situation can occur where the grant tissue may not be attached to the graft the way your periodontist expected. Though this is very rare, if it happens, the person might need to go through the surgery a second time. But this is only the worst-case scenario.
Along with this, some people might not be a fan of their smiles post-surgery and will require the periodontist to help with gingivoplasty (reshaping of the gum tissue). In this case, your dentist will reshape your gums to help change your look to a much-preferred look.
Tips for Prevention
To prevent gum recession, you first need to understand what initially puts you at risk for gum recession.
Listed below are some of the main habits/conditions/traits that make you more prone to gum recession:
- Heavy tartar or plaque build-up
- Poor overall oral hygiene
- Severe changes in hormones
- Smoking regularly
- Drinking once a week
- Contaminated tools for brushing and cleaning teeth
- Clenching or grinding teeth since childhood
Will I Ever Need Another Gum Tissue Graft?
It entirely depends on how well you choose to take care of your gums and your teeth. Even though gum grafts are extremely effective at repairing your gum recession and preventing further damage to your gums or teeth, there is no guarantee that you will not have any such problems in the future.
You can quickly stop this from becoming a reoccurrence by visiting your dentist for regular checkups and performing careful dental care at home. It is only part of a way by which you can avoid severe gum conditions requiring surgeries.
Many other ways to prevent gum recession and a gum grafting surgery are:
- Religiously brushing your teeth twice each day with fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing daily to avoid any remaining food particles being caught between your teeth
- Using an antiseptic mouthwash to rinse your mouth daily
- Keeping a reminder to vising your dentist for your routine checkups
- Get your teeth cleaned by a professional when needed
- Know when to see your periodontist
- You must eat a well-balanced diet that provides you with all the vital nutrients and vitamins needed
- Avoid drinking often
- Quit smoking if you can, otherwise cut it down a great deal
If you suffer from any of the risks mentioned above, do not take it upon yourself to fix the condition of your gums or teeth, it is best to consult your dentist in Sacramento, CA. They will guide you better on what to do considering your case.
When To Consult A Doctor
Even though these are rare situations, the surgery is mostly a success that requires a few days of proper care to heal completely. However, there are instances when one can experience the following post-surgery:
- The bleeding hasn’t stopped for twenty straight minutes even though you have applied pressure on it.
- There is an increase in pain, swelling, and bruising (more than what your dentist told you it would be like)
In these two alarming situations, you must visit or call your dentist right away before it leads to something much worse.
It is no secret that most people do not wish to talk about gum recession or the risk of gum grafts, but it is also clear that if these gum and tooth conditions are left untreated, the consequences you will be facing soon will be severe.
Thus, it’s better to be alert and safe than sorry. Act right when you are mindful of a problem. Don’t delay even the slightest feeling of discomfort in your mouth. Suppose you’re feeling pain or extreme discomfort that you have not ever felt before. In that case, it’s probably best to consult a doctor or your dentist immediately.
Once you take charge of the situation and seek help, it gets easier for your doctor to identify where the problem lies and the best way to fix it. If you’re experiencing the same severe symptoms for a while now and looking for the best dentist in Sacramento, CA, then contact Soft Touch today to book your appointment.