Gum recession (also called gingival recession) is a highly common problem among adults in the U.S., and can even occur among teenagers, too.
Receding gums is the process of gum tissue pulling away from the tooth leaving sensitive areas such as the roots exposed. It can cause a lot of problems for your dental health and your smile including increased decay, inflammation, sensitivity, and even tooth loss.
If your patients are suffering from gum recession, then gum grafting surgery may be right for them.
Keep reading to learn more about gum grafting surgery and the benefits it can offer.
Trust us. Your patients will thank you.
What is Gum Grafting?
Gum grafting, also known as a periodontal treatment or gum recession surgery, is a surgical procedure designed to place healthy gum tissue in areas where gums have receded.
Receding gums can be caused by many factors. Some include excessive gingivitis, aggressive brushing over time, trauma to gum tissues (think sports or accidents), having braces, wearing dentures that don’t fit correctly, genetics, and smoking of any kind.
The most common cause of gum recession is gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). Gum disease is typically caused by bacterial buildup and leads to chronic inflammation of the gums and mouth tissue. If left untreated, it can cause tooth loss.
Approximately 50% of people in the U.S. have periodontal disease. Individuals with other inflammatory diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are the most common to have gum disease. However, it is found among a wide variety of individuals.
Luckily, gum grafting can help reverse some of the consequences of receding gums and protect individuals’ teeth.
Types of Gum Grafting
There are two main types of gum grafting surgery. One is the gingival graft and the other is the connective tissue graft.
Both procedures use tissue from the roof of the mouth and attach it to the area of recession. The only difference is the way the tissue is taken.
The connective tissue graft opens the roof of the mouth by creating what is called a “flap door” and then takes tissue from a layer of connective tissue underneath the door (not the first layer).
The gingival graft, on the other hand, simply takes tissue from the top layer of the roof, also called the palate. There is no flap door opening involved.
There are three other types of grafting that are less commonly used. These include the pedicle graft, which takes gum tissue from other gums in the patients in the mouth. Cadaver grafts use tissue from human donors are reserved for severe cases. Lastly, porcine grafts use tissue from pigs and are also reserved for severe circumstances.
No matter the type of procedure used, gum graft recovery is quick (a maximum of two weeks) and doesn’t influence your daily life after surgery.
Benefits of Gum Grafting
There are many benefits to gum grafting surgery. Keep reading to learn about the top five benefits of gum grafting.
1. Protects against further recession
Gum grafting is needed when gums have receded to a problematic point. Luckily, a top benefit of gum grafting is that it helps protect against further receding in the future.
When your tooth and roots are covered healthy gums, the gum tissue to do its job. The job of healthy gums is to protect your teeth and its roots from bacteria and infection. When you have healthy gum tissue, it can do this and prevent inflammation from infection and ultimately prevent receding.
2. Protects Roots from Further Decay and Prevents Tooth Loss
Over time, gum recession leaves the roots of your teeth exposed. When the roots are exposed to bacteria, viruses, and harm, they begin to decay. Over time, this decaying leads to loosing of the teeth and eventually tooth loss.
By adding new and healthy gum tissue to the areas where the recession has occurred, the tooth’s roots are protected again and will have time to strengthen. This will also protect them from further decay.
3. Reduces Tooth Sensitivity
When gums recede, they expose areas of the tooth that do not have enamel built up to protect it. When the teeth, as well as any exposed roots, are not protected by either enamel or gum tissue, they become highly sensitive to touch, hot, and cold.
Gum grafting will add that layer of protection and stop the bothersome sensitivity associated with gum recession and exposed roots. You’ll patients will be able to enjoy ice cream and hot beverages again!
4. Improves your smile
Gum grafting can greatly improve the aesthetics of your smile. If your gums are swollen, uneven, discolored, or you cannot see your gums when you smile, your smile may look less attractive. Gum recession can also lead to sensitive gums that bleed easily, making it embarrassing to smile after eating or brushing teeth.
By adding new gum tissue with grafting, gums look even, natural, and healthy. They will also be stronger. Your patients will not only have good looking gums again, but their smile will look normal and healthy, too.
5. Prevents Plaque Buildup
Without healthy and strong gum tissue to protect your teeth, plaque can easily get under the gums and/or onto more areas of the tooth including the roots. This means more cavities, more decay, and more dentist appointments.
With a gum grafting procedure, the new layer of gums will help prevent plaque from getting to those sensitive areas and overall keep the mouth a healthier place. This means fewer problems for your patients in the long run.
Ready to Schedule Gum Graft Surgery?
As you can see, gum graft surgery carries many benefits for patients with gum recession. Gum grafting will reduce the pain and sensitivity that comes with receding gums. It will prevent further decaying and tooth loss. And it will improve the overall health and aesthetics of one’s mouth and smile.
There’s no doubt about it, gum recession surgery is definitely worth it in the long run. Patients will have less worry and problems which means more praise and recommendations for dentists.