Gum grafting or gingival grafting is the surgical procedure employed to repair receding gums, and cover the exposed roots. The ‘gingiva’ is a term used for gum tissues. The gum tissues act as a barrier against the bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, and protect the teeth from external trauma, which can be caused by harsh brushing and eating.
Gum recession can take place due to various factors, of which the most common factors are, gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontal disease, aggressive brushing, tobacco use, not brushing or flossing the teeth properly, overexposure to sodium lauryl sulfate, and teeth grinding or clenching.
The loss of gum tissues can expose an individual to several other dental problems, like cavities and caries, tooth sensitivity, and tooth erosion. Loose and receding gums can also expose the bones that support the teeth, to harmful bacteria and microorganisms. Therefore, if the gums recede to a large extent, then surgery can be required to prevent further recession, and protect the exposed roots of the teeth from cavities and infections.
Gingival Grafting Procedure
In this surgical procedure, some healthy tissues from the roof of the mouth are removed, and then placed at the site of gum recession. A gum graft can be a soft tissue graft or a connective tissue graft. A soft tissue graft is obtained from the surface skin of the roof of the mouth or palate. The graft is then placed on the areas, where the roots are exposed due to receding gum lines.
On the other hand, the healthy gum tissues from the undersurface of the palatal tissues are used in a connective tissue graft. Apart from these, donated human skin tissues can also be used as a graft. The cost of this procedure can vary significantly depending on the location, the number of sessions required, and several other factors. The cost can rise, if the initial graft does not work, or if additional surgeries are required.
Gingival Grafting Recovery
A patient undergoing this procedure can take considerable time to heal and recover completely. The patient can experience significant pain following the gum graft surgery, for which pain killers can be required. Sometimes, one can experience excessive bleeding from the site, from where the graft is taken. Usually, the stitches are removed about a week after the surgery.
Though some individuals can recover from the surgery within three to four weeks, others might take more than a month or two. Again, additional surgeries can be required if the graft does not work. Generally, if the instructions for post-operative oral care are followed properly, one can expect faster recovery. Rinsing the mouth several times a day with saline water and a mouthwash can help speed up the recovery process.
Gingival Grafting Benefits
The main advantage or benefit of the gingival graft is the reduced risk of a number of dental problems. As mentioned already, if the roots of the teeth get exposed, they become vulnerable to infections caused by the bacteria and other microorganisms. This can raise the risk of cavities and tooth decay, and a gingival graft can help prevent these conditions.
Apart from these, it can help prevent further recession of the gums, which can prove helpful in avoiding serious complications like bone loss. It can also improve the look of an individual by giving a more even appearance to the teeth and gums. This can improve your esthetics, especially your smile.
This procedure is usually carried out when the gums have receded to a large extent. It is important to strictly follow the post-operative care and precautionary measures suggested by your surgeon after the gum graft surgery. Equally important is to maintain oral hygiene, which can help keep dental problems at bay.