Understanding How Gum Grafting Works

Your gums are the soft, pink tissue that surrounds your teeth. Healthy gums hug your teeth, holding them in place and protecting the tooth roots from harmful bacteria and decay.

But age, genetics, and other factors contribute to a common dental issue known as gum recession. Receding gums pull away from teeth, exposing the sensitive roots and increasing your risk of oral health complications.

Almost everyone is at risk for receding gums as they get older, even if they have good oral hygiene habits. Gum tissue that’s lost in recession doesn’t grow back, but the good news is that you have treatment options.

J. Paul Fuentes, DDS, and Andrew Peterson, DMD, along with our oral surgery team at Arcadia Perio, specialize in gum care. We offer periodontal treatment for gum disease, as well as gum grafting to restore lost tissue and improve the look and function of your smile.

The benefits of gum grafting

Healthy gums protect your teeth, but receding gums put your teeth and your oral health at risk. As gums recede, the exposed roots cause tooth sensitivity, particularly when you eat or drink hot, cold, or sweet things.

When your gums don’t surround your teeth as they should, bacteria and plaque are more likely to collect. This increases your risk of tooth decay, tooth loosening, and eventually, tooth loss.

Gums don’t grow back on their own if you have severe gum recession, but gum grafting offers a solution. Gum grafting is an oral surgery during which we take tissue from elsewhere and rebuild your gums.

Grafting encourages healthy tissue growth as your gums attach to the grafted tissue. Gum grafting can stop the progression of gum recession and even save your natural teeth.

What happens during gum grafting

There are a few different types of gum grafting: 

We choose the best method based on your needs, but the most common option is connective tissue grafting.

Gum grafting is an outpatient procedure, and there’s nothing special you need to do to prepare. On the day of your gum graft, we help you get settled in the procedure room and administer an anesthetic or sedative to keep you comfortable.

We create a flap of tissue on the roof of your mouth and take tissue from under the flap for your graft. We suture the tissue to the receding gums, then close the flap with additional sutures.

Most of the time, the tissue comes from your own mouth. In some cases, we use donor tissue from another source to supplement your gum tissue.

You’re free to go home shortly after the procedure. Because we’ve given you an anesthetic or sedative, you need someone to drive you home.

Recovering from gum grafting

As your gums heal, they absorb the tissue graft, growing new tissue around the surgery site and strengthening your gumline.

Follow our recovery guidelines once you’re home. You may need to eat a diet of soft foods for about a week. If you have a job that requires a lot of talking, it might be a good idea to take a few days off work.

Gum grafts heal fairly quickly, and most people are fully healed in a week or two. You come back to our office for an evaluation of your progress and to have any sutures removed, if needed.

Receding gums can have a serious impact on your oral health, but gum grafting is a safe and effective treatment option. Learn more with a consultation at our office in Arcadia, California. Contact us online or call to schedule an appointment.

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