Windsor Centre For Advanced Dentistry

What is a gum graft?

The gums play an essential role in our oral hygiene and general well-being. Not only are they imperative to an attractive smile, but they’re also a practical tool to help keep our teeth stable and in line.

However, when our gums fail us, or they’re not quite as they should be, a gum graft may be the best solution, offering the fullness and structure our mouth needs for it to perform its role effectively.

But what exactly is gum grafting? Who is it suitable for? And what kinds of issues can gum tissue grafts solve? At The Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry, our team is comprised of some of the most renowned experts in their respective fields, meaning we’re able to offer all the information you need on gum grafts (and similar treatments) so you can make the right choice for your own oral health.

With this in mind, here are a few things you should know about gum grafts. If you’d like to know more, please feel free to get in touch with the Windsor Dental team today.

More about gum grafts

A gum graft is a surgical procedure designed to fix gum recession – a condition where the gum tissue surrounding the teeth has begun to wither away, leaving an exposed root. This is most often caused by untreated periodontal conditions, though some people can be genetically predisposed to thin gums. Other factors, such as brushing too harshly, can also contribute to gum recession.

While it may sound fairly benign, exposing such tooth roots can have disastrous consequences on your mouth as a whole, including increased risk of tooth decay, lost teeth, further gum disease and, in extreme cases, bone loss.

Who may need a gum grafting procedure?

If you’re concerned you may need gum graft surgery, you should contact an experienced, trusted dental expert – like the experts at The Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry – as soon as possible.

During an appointment, your dentist will examine your mouth and will quickly be able to determine whether or not you’re suffering from gum recession and whether a gum graft would be the best course of action. If this is the case, they’ll refer you to a periodontist (someone who deals with gum disease and gum-related issues), though they may already have a periodontist working in-house who can help you.

What happens during gum graft surgery?

Before any surgery takes place, your periodontist will conduct a thorough examination of your mouth. This includes identifying the severity of your gum recession by measuring the pockets created by thinning gums and comparing them to where the natural gumline should be.

They may recommend holding off on surgery to see whether your gum tissue continues to regress while offering treatment for gum disease, in the hopes the damage can be limited. However, if the receding gums are severe enough, they may recommend gum graft surgery as soon as possible to avoid any further damage that may require greater intervention.

A gum tissue graft procedure generally includes:

Local anaesthetic

Your periodontist will administer a local anaesthetic to numb the areas to be worked on, ensuring you feel no pain during the procedure. However, depending on the periodontist you choose for your gum graft surgery, they may offer other anaesthetics such as nitrous oxide, which is just as effective. Your options will be discussed with you, but feel free to ask if you’re unsure.

Gum preparation

Once the anaesthetic has been administered and has taken effect, your periodontist will begin. They start by making a small cut in the gums to open them up in the relevant place, making them more workable and creating a gap for the graft to be placed. During this time, they may also opt to clean your inner gums and exposed tooth roots while they have the chance.

Removing the gum graft tissue

Now, the periodontist will need to harvest existing tissue that will act as a replacement for your recessed gums. This is usually taken from the roof of the mouth, as the two tissues are strikingly similar and the loss of this tissue will not affect your mouth in any way. Once the tissue is removed, the wound is then closed or dressed, depending on the amount of tissue taken. Alternatively, donated tissue may be used to prevent the need for harvesting.

Placing the connective tissue graft

Once the tissue has been harvested, the periodontist will position the tissue over any areas to be treated, before stitching them into place.

Are connective tissue grafts painful?

Mild pain after your anaesthetic has worn off post-surgery is perfectly normal, which is why your periodontist will recommend the use of over-the-counter painkillers during your recovery time. Mild pain and tooth sensitivity should begin to subside after a couple of weeks, but you will be able to inform your periodontist of any concerns you have during your regular checkups as you improve.

Gum graft recovery

On average, gum graft surgery is healed within two weeks of the procedure. However, during this time, your periodontist will recommend sticking to certain foods (and avoiding certain foods) to give your mouth the best chance at a speedy recovery.

This includes focussing on soft foods, like well-cooked pasta, and avoiding anything overly crunchy, like crusty breads and chocolate bars. The more your mouth heals, the more foods from your normal diet you’ll be able to incorporate again.

Failed gum graft solutions

While very effective for most people, gum grafts aren’t always successful. You’ll be able to spot a failed gum graft if you experience excessive bleeding past the two-week mark, or if the gummy area around your teeth begins to turn white, or even come away. This is an indicator that the tissue is dead or dying, as healthy gum tissue should have an attractive pink/ light red tone.

The most common solution to a failed gum graft is attempting a second gum graft, though you will need to wait for your mouth to have fully recovered from the first attempt. This usually takes around 3 months at a minimum, though your periodontist will have a better idea of timescales based on your specific recovery progress.

Dealing with periodontal problems? Speak to the team at The Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry

If you’re concerned your gums are in recession, or that gum disease is damaging your gums beyond repair, speak to the team at The Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry.

Our team of professional dental experts are highly trained and experienced in dealing with a whole host of periodontal issues which, if treated properly, could prevent the need for gum graft surgery in the future.

So put your oral health, and your smile, in the hands of those best qualified to help. To find out more, speak to one of our dental technicians at the link below, or book your appointment at our online portal today.



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