BEFORE grafting AFTER grafting
"Grafting" is basically a procedure where a gum specialist (a "periodontist") removes some gum tissue from the roof of your mouth and uses it to cover over the area of exposed tooth root. Grafting is usually necessary because the patient has used an over aggressive tooth brushing technique for many years. We tell our patients that if they scrub at their teeth as if they are cleaning their barbeque grill, then they will almost certainly need grafting some day. If you hold your toothbrush with a tight-fisted death grip and grimace while brushing, then you are over doing it. Instead of an intense, vigorous sawing motion, you should brush with only light pressure in an up and down motion.
While any kind of "gum surgery" sounds like something to be avoided, if you have receding gums that leave your teeth sensitive to cold, you are almost certain to need this procedure eventually. This is the kind of situation that is easiest and most predictable when taken care of early. If you wait, the size of the graft and the extent of the surgery will increase with every passing year.... This is one bridge that you should cross early. Most of our patients really do report an unremarkable experience.
Gingival grafting, also called "soft tissue grafting", allows us to correct gums that have pulled away from the tooth and exposed the root surface. The gums may have receeded because of periodontal disease or improper brushing techniques. Once the cause has been identified and controlled, gingival grafting can repair the loss of gum tissue and restore a healthy-looking smile.
Why is gingival grafting necessary?
When gums don’t completely cover the root surfaces, the apparent lengthening of the teeth can age a person’s smile. If left uncorrected, the loss of protective gum tissue can also make the tooth root more susceptible to decay and painful sensitivity.
With grafting, we can return the gums to a more healthy and attractive state, with gums snug against the teeth and the roots covered.
The first step in placing a graft is to thoroughly numb the involved areas. Then a small strip of gum tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth. In some cases, the incision heals on its own. In other cases, it’s closed with a stitch or two.
At the site of the graft, the specialist gently separates the gums from the tooth. This creates a flap and gives the doctor access to the area. Next, removal of any plaque and tartar from the root surfaces, and then the graft is carefully positioned and stitched in place.
After healing for a few weeks, the grafted tissue blends in beautifully. Gingival grafting restores and strengthens the gums, covers and protects the root surfaces, and gives the tooth a much more natural and pleasing appearance.
What are the benefits of this procedure?
A soft tissue graft can redure further recession and bone loss. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay; this may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve esthetics of your smile. A beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health -- your key to smiling, eating and speaking with comfort and copnfidence.