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What is gum grafting?

Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that treats receding gum-line. This is commonly performed if root of a tooth is partially exposed. If this is left untreated, gum-line will eventually advance further to the extent of a possible tooth loss.

Gum grafting treatment is recommended in the case of moderate to severe gum recession. Exposed roots can cause problems in your dental health as exposed roots become prone to cavities. Most importantly, gum recession is known to cause damage to the surrounding bone structure; such damage to supporting bone will no longer be able to support teeth in place, jeopardizing the stability of teeth.

Gum grafting treatment will increase your oral health as well as enhance aesthetic appearance by improving your smile.

What causes gum recession?

As the name suggests, gum recession is essentially loss of gum tissues that cover roots of the teeth, leading to root exposure. Receding gum-line may be caused by a variety of different factors including untreated gum disease, systematic illness, sudden hormone changes, genetics, as well as plaque and tartar buildup due to poor oral hygiene.

Your daily brushing technique also has a big impact on your gum health; aggressive brushing will wear out enamel (dental term: “abrasion”) and cause gums to recede. The extent of damage caused by aggressive brushing will be substantial if combined with the use of medium or hard bristle toothbrush. Other factors include habits such as clenching and grinding. Furthermore, many clinical studies suggest close association between tongue/ lip piercing and gum recession.

How is gum grafting done?

Gum grafting procedure is not as complicated as it sounds, but is rather simple. Connective-tissue grafts are the most common procedure performed to treat gum recession. First, a flap of the roof of your mouth is cut for the dentist to gain access to connective tissue underneath. A part of connective tissue under the roof of your mouth is surgically excised to cover the roots exposed due to receded gums. The flap is carefully stitched back onto the roof of the mouth, and the excised connective tissue – the graft – is stitched directly onto the gum tissues around the exposed root.

As with any other major surgical procedures, you will be required to make a trip back to the office for a checkup and for the dentist to examine the healing process.

What can I expect post gum grafting procedure?

The dentist will explain post-operative care in detail, and will also provide post-operative instructions in a written form for you to take home. You will be given a few medication prescriptions: antibiotics to reduce risk of potential infection, therapeutic mouthwash to control plaque, and painkiller to be taken only when necessary.

You should avoid brushing or flossing until the area that received gum grafting treatment is completely healed. Rinsing with the prescribed therapeutic mouthwash daily will minimize bacterial buildup and promote healing process.

For a couple of weeks following the gum grafting procedure, you should be on a strict soft-food diet such as yogurt, boiled eggs, and cooked vegetables. You should steer away from eating hot meals and stick to cool foods instead. You should also avoid spicy foods to prevent irritation and burns.

The combination of daily oral hygiene maintenance with proper soft-food diet will accelerate healing process. If severe, persistent pain is experienced, please call the dental office right away to have the dentist examine the state of your healing process.

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Saban Family Dental is located in Etobicoke, ON at  325 Burnhamthorpe Rd and offers a complete range of dental services for children, adults, and seniors.

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