Why gum grafting may be recommended...
There are times when there are cosmetic reasons to perform a gum graft. In these cases, a soft tissue graft can improve the appearance of a smile even if the patient does not have a medical reason to perform the procedure. If gum tissue is uneven or not providing sufficient coverage of the tooth root, a patient may elect to have a gum graft to improve the appearance of their smile and make the teeth appear more proportionate or even.
The most common reason to perform a gum grafting procedure is to correct the effects of gum recession. Gum recession can be mild and is often a natural part of aging, but the receding gums can expose part of the tooth root and cause sensitivity to heat and cold. Patients may choose to have a gum graft to reduce the sensitivity they are experiencing as a result of gum recession.
More often, however, gum recession is the result of periodontal disease and there are important oral health and medical reasons to perform a gum graft procedure. The recession not only affects the aesthetics of the smile and tooth sensitivity, but overall oral health and wellness. Receding gums leave tooth roots exposed and vulnerable to decay, instability and tooth loss, which can then lead to loss of the bone structure supporting the teeth. Gum grafts are an effective way to cover and protect tooth roots, helping extend the health of the tooth and supporting bone structures.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gum Grafting
When is gum graft surgery necessary?
A gum graft may be necessary to protect your teeth roots from cavities or further gum recession. Gum grafts can also improve the beauty of your smile so you do not look like you have long teeth. Gum grafts add protective tissue to your teeth roots and they can treat root sensitivity, teeth sensitivity, and root cavities since your exposed roots are softer than your teeth and more likely to get cavities.
What happens if you don’t get a gum graft?
Teeth with exposed roots that do not get the protective addition of a gum graft can experience further gum recession which can make it harder to fix in the future. Exposed tooth roots are also more likely to develop cavities than teeth because roots are softer and less mineralized than teeth.
Can a regular dentist do a gum graft?
Regular dentists can do gum grafts if they have the training but gum grafts are usually performed by periodontists or specialists that train in the surgical addition of gum and bone. Gum grafts can be technically challenging so the doctor performing the operation should be well trained and have a lot of experience.
Is gum grafting considered surgery?
A gum graft is considered a surgical procedure but there are many ways to perform a gum graft that is minimally invasive. Most of the time a piece of gum tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and used to cover the area of exposed root and gum recession. Newer techniques can make small incisions into the gums and use growth factors to lift the gum tissue up without having to use the roof of the mouth tissue. These newer surgical techniques and regenerative material make the surgery much easier and post-surgical pain much less.
How do you know if you need gum grafting?
If you’re starting to see the roots of your teeth, your teeth are becoming sensitive, your teeth are looking longer, the yellow roots of the teeth become exposed, or you don’t like the long appearance of your smile, talk to your periodontist about gum grafting. This is a fairly common procedure that’s used to restore the look and health of the gums and prevent receding from happening in the future.
Is gum grafting permanent?
Gum grafts can have long-term good results if done correctly and good oral hygiene is performed by the person. Studies show good long-term stability and success of gum grafts when aftercare is followed and the reason the gums receded in the first place are corrected.
Is gum recession serious?
Gum recession can be serious because if left untreated and it becomes worse, it can lead to problems like infection, tooth decay, and tooth loss, among other issues. Addressing gum recession when it first begins is always the less costly and easier treatment route to take.
Can a receding tooth be saved?
Gum recession can be reversed with gum grafts and good oral hygiene practiced at home. If the gums are already receded they will most likely not regrown without periodontal treatment. Good hygiene practices may prevent the gums from getting worse but they will usually not regrow back to their original position. Consult with a periodontist for an evaluation of possible treatment.
Will receding gums cause tooth loss?
When gum recession occurs, spaces can form between the teeth and gum line which makes it easier for bacteria to accumulate and cavities to occur. If left untreated, the tissue can recede further and bone loss around the tooth can occur.
Why does gum recession happen?
There are many reasons why gum recession occurs including bacteria causing gingivitis and recession, thin tissue from genetics, orthodontics, aggressive tooth brushing and oral hygiene habits, smoking, tobacco use, chewing hard foods that scrape the gums, biting objects that push on the gums, and many other things. Consult with a periodontist to find out why your gums have receded and how they can be treated.