What is a Gum Graft?
Gum grafting is the transplanting of healthy gum tissue to correct receding gums. Gum grafts prevent tooth and root damage and restore healthy gums to their role as the primary protective seal around the tooth base. There are several gum grafting techniques available each designed to address specific periodontal concerns and degree of gum recession.
Types of Gum Graphs
Connective Tissue Graft
Gum grafting using connective tissue requires opening a small flap — sometimes called a “trap door” — in the roof of your mouth and extracting a piece of connective tissue. The tissue is graphed onto the spot where gums have receded.
Free Gingival Graft
In contrast to the “trap door” technique, a free gingival graft removes a small piece of top tissue from the roof of your mouth and grafts it onto the affected area.
A pedicle graft involves grafting tissue harvested close to the affected site. The periodontist creates a flap of tissue and secures it over the affected area. Pedicle gum grafting is often preferred as it does not cut off the blood flow in surrounding gum tissues. The process requires a good amount of healthy tissue; it is less than ideal when the recession is extensive.
Gum grafting is commonly done using healthy tissue. If it is not possible and a large area needs to be covered, the periodontist may use tissue harvested from a cadaver or porcine (pig) sources. A periodontist would be required to tell you if he recommends this method.
What to Expect
Little preparation is needed before surgery. Depending on your anxiety level, your dentist may suggest general anesthesia. Once the graft is in place you may be asked to stay an hour or two to ensure things are going as expected and you do not have any other issues.
Recovery and Post-Op Care
If you follow all instructions post-op you should not have any problems. Prescribed medication should be taken and a diet of soft foods – nothing hot – followed for two weeks after surgery. Brushing and flossing are prohibited, but a regime including regular rising with an antimicrobial mouth wash is prescribed to prevent infection.
Complications are rare but do occasionally occur. Call your periodontist if you experience oozing or unexpected bleeding around the graft site, swelling, bruising, fever, and pus. These indicate that the graft did not properly take or adapt to the site and must be re-grafted.
The cost of grafting can vary. Depending on the size of the graft, costs can range anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The cost may be covered in full or partially by your dental insurance plan. Payment plans are normally available from various credit organizations, often at no interest.
Thinking of Oral Implants and Periodontics can help you plan your graft and suggest methods of payment to suit your budget. If you live in the Paoli, PA area call us now at (610) 550-3333 for a consultation appointment. Thinking of Oral Implants and Periodontics, offices located 250 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 215, Paoli, PA 19301.