Receding gums can be scary and painful at the same time.
The good news is that you do not need to panic since the procedure to treat this issue is not as complicated or scary as it sounds. Getting a gum graft treatment is necessary as it helps to shield your teeth from the damaging impact of gum recession. This procedure is also highly recommended for those looking to improve their smile.
Why Is Gum Grafts Performed?
When your gums start receding, your dentist or periodontist may recommend that you have a gum graft treatment. As your gums recede, they expose the roots of your teeth to decay, sensitivity, and abrasion. Gum grafts are performed to correct receding gums.
Why Gum Recession Matters?
Gum recession is a process whereby the tissue surrounding your teeth pulls away, exposing the root of your teeth. This can damage the supporting bone. If left untreated, gum recession can expose the roots of your teeth resulting in;
- Unattractive smile
- Tooth decay
- Root sensitivity
- Plaque Buildup
- Loss of supporting bone
- Risk of future recession
- Tooth loss
Symptoms Of Gum Recession
Here are some signs and symptoms that may indicate gum recession:
- Tooth mobility
- Tooth sensitivity
- Your teeth may look more prolonged than usual
- Exposed tooth roots
- Your teeth may feel notched at the gum line
- A change in your teeth’s colour, due to the colour difference between the enamel and the cementum
- Growing spaces between your teeth
- Cavities below your gum line
- Puffy, red or inflamed gums
- Bad breath
- Gum bleeding when you brush or floss
Gum Grafting Treatment For Receding Gums
Gum graft treatment can be used to restore or revive receded or aged gums, thicken weak and delicate gums, augment thin or missing tissue around dental implants, and cover unsightly or exposed teeth.
Preparing For A Gum Graft
Before the treatment, your dentist or periodontist will discuss the different options of treatment available to you as well as make a recommendation depending on your specific needs. Once you decide on a procedure, you will not have to fast for some hours or alter your diet before the process. However, you will need to arrange for transportation to and from the appointment as the pain medications that you will be given may make it dangerous for you to drive. So you will need to be driven home by a friend, or hire a car service.
Gum graft treatments are categorised into three main types. They include;
The connective-tissue graft is the most popular treatment for gum recession. It is used to treat different areas of the recession. During this procedure, your dentist will cut a fold of skin from your mouth’s roof, also known as the palate. This will allow the removal of subepithelial connective which is located directly under the flap. This tissue is then sewn to the surrounding exposed root immediately. The palatal flap, where the tissue was removed, is also stitched back.
Free Gingival Grafts
Just like connective tissue grafts, this treatment involves the use of tissues from the palate. The only difference is that the tissue is extracted directly from your mouth’s roof. Hence there is no need of making a flap. The tissue is then attached to the area on the treated gum. Free gingival grafts are recommended for people with thin gums and are looking to have them enlarged.
For this gum graft procedure, the tissue is extracted from the gum near or around the tooth that needs repair and not from the palate. The flap, in this case, is called the pedicle. The pedicle is partly cut off so that one of its edges remains attached. Afterwards, your gum is pulled up or down to conceal the visible root and stitched into place. Pedicle graft treatment can only be performed on people who have a lot of gum tissue close to the affected tooth.
What Can You Expect During The Procedure?
Once you have chosen your preferred gum graft procedure, you will be escorted to the operating room. The dentist will use local anaesthesia to numb the area where the process is to be performed.In rare cases, your dentist may prescribe general anaesthesia so that you are unconscious throughout the procedure.
The procedure does not take long. After the dentist has sewn up the graft, they will wash your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash. They will then discuss with you on how to best care for the treated area and graft until it is completely healed.
Benefits Of Gum Grafts
Other than stopping your gums from receding further, gum grafts can help reduce bone loss and tooth sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold foods. It also shields your teeth’s roots from root decay. Gum graft treatment Malta also results in a more even gum line, allowing you to smile and speak without having to worry about the appearance of your smile or teeth.
Prevention Of Receding Gums
One of the most important aspects of preventing gum recession is keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day using a medium-bristled toothbrush and use the proper tooth brushing technique (use a gentle circular motion to massage and clean your teeth and gums). Also, make sure to floss on a daily basis as it helps to clean away any bacteria or plaque hiding between your teeth.
Another important measure of preventing gum recession is being diligent about scheduling regular examination and cleaning appointments with your dentist. Remember that your dental hygienist or dentist is highly likely to notice receding gums while examining or cleaning your teeth. A professional cleaning procedure can remove plaque that everyday tooth brushing can’t clean off.
If you suffer from bruxism –excessively grinding your teeth at night while sleeping-, talk to your health professional about a mouth guard to help you break the habit and tooth-straightening options if you have any misaligned teeth.
Above all, be on the lookout for any early signs and symptoms of gum disease like persistent bad breath or red, swollen gums which are prone to bleeding. This way, you will be able to catch the disease before it gets out of hand.
Preventing gum recession and any other gum disease is easier and more affordable than treating it. So, if you do not have a proper home care routine or have been missing dental appointments, ramp it up. Always visit your dentist whenever you spot any signs of gum problems.
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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.
Dr Joseph Xuereb
Dental & Implant Surgeon. Principal
Savina Dental Clinics