Posted on 5/23/2015 by Dr. Dennison
Medical procedures have come a long way in recent years. It's amazing what can be done to repair damaged and disease affected areas of your body. There is skin grafting for areas of the skin affected by burns or other causes; those looking for a full head of hair can get hair grafting; and bones can be repaired with bone grafting. In the dental world there is gum grafting. Have you ever heard of it?
What is gum Grafting?Gum grafting is a process where the gums need to be strengthened. This procedure thickens thin areas of the gums and/or covers an exposed root. There are several types of gum grafts. The first is called a free gingival graft. This is where tissue from the palate is taken and attached to the gum area that needs to be strengthened. It is an excellent protective measure for thickening the gums that cover exposed roots.
The second type of gum graft is called a subepithelial connective tissue graft. That's a mouthful. What is consists of is a portion of tissue taken from the palate and placed in the gums to replace receded gum material. Stitches are used to close the incision in the palate and where the graft has been secured. This graft protects the roots of the tooth as well as the bones supporting that root.
The third type of gum graft is an acellular dermal matrix allograft. Unlike the other two types of gum grafts, this graft uses human donor tissue that has been medically processed. The advantage with this graft is that no tissue has been taken from the patient. The resulting graft tends not to be as thick as with grafts involving the patient's own tissue. Those who are candidates for this type of graft normally have thin tissue on the palate making a graft from their own tissue difficult.
Why should you get a Gum Graft?Even though you might not be familiar with gum grafts, they are a common procedure in the dentist office. It may sound scary but results from these grafts have been excellent. A popular reason for gum grafting is to reduce the sensitivity to the root of a tooth to hot and cold foods. This sensitivity can be quite painful at times and a gum graft will cover that root preventing the extreme temperatures from causing pain.
Another reason for getting a gum graft would be to improve the appearance of your mouth. When gums recede the teeth look longer resulting in a "toothy" look. Grafts will enable the teeth to look shorter and more uniform. This in turn presents a more pleasant image and is aesthetically pleasing.
If you are experiencing the loss of gum tissue to gum disease this is another reason to opt for a gum graft. When dealing with gum disease, a large amount of gum tissue can be lost in a relatively short amount of time. Using a gum graft can halt the loss of gum tissue. This will prevent bone loss and further decay of the tooth.
Are there any Risks?
A gum graft is a surgical procedure that has many of the same risks as other surgeries. There can be swelling of the affected area or if a large section of the palate tissue was removed there might be some tissue sloughing from your upper arch. This can be corrected with a plastic form covering that area. There is always the risk of infection, especially in the mouth. Taking care of your oral health will minimize any risk from a gum graft.
If you have any questions about gum grafting, please call our office at (832) 975-0990 today!