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Gum Graft


A rendering of healthy gumsYour gums are meant to cover the root of your teeth. However, sometimes your gingiva may pull away from the teeth exposing their roots. Although gum recession is often associated with periodontal disease, the fact is that it is also possible to have receding gums if you are otherwise healthy.

Depending on the severity of the gum recession, we at Tualatin Family & Cosmetic Dentistry may recommend gum graft surgery to correct it.

Why Is It Important To Get A Gum Graft?


If we recommend a gum graft, it is important to understand that it may not necessarily be due to issues with your oral health. Although many people develop gum recession because of periodontal disease, it can also be caused by genetics and family history. Some people have naturally weak gingival tissue. Receding gums can also develop if you have crooked teeth or if you brush your teeth aggressively.

When your gum tissue recedes, the tooth root is exposed, resulting in temperature sensitivity. The tooth root is also not protected by enamel but by a softer tissue called cementum, so it is more at risk of tooth decay and infection. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to loosening of the tooth and possible tooth loss.

Types of Gum Grafts


Depending on your unique situation, Dr. Emerson Rowley, DMD may recommend one of the following three gum grafts:

Connective Tissue Graft


This is the most common type of gum graft and is done when the gum tissue has receded from multiple teeth. We will take a connective tissue graft from a flap made in your soft palate, which is stitched onto the exposed root.

Free Gingival Graft


If you have very thin or weak gum tissue, we may reinforce them by taking a small tissue graft from the roof of the mouth and attaching it to your existing gums. Tissue from another source can also be taken if a large amount of gum tissue is needed or to avoid two surgical sites.

Pedicle Graft


This procedure can be done if the gum tissue on the adjacent tooth is healthy and thick. We may create a flap of gum tissue from the adjacent healthy gums, and stretch it into position over the exposed root, stitching it there.

Recovery and Post-Op Care After A Gum Graft


•  Recovery after a gum graft procedure does not take very long. Some soreness on the surgical sites is expected for a day or two, but most people return to their routine activities a day after surgery.
•  Avoid eating hard and hot food for a couple of weeks. Try eating soft or mashed foods while your soft tissue heals.
•  During the recovery process, make sure you keep your mouth clean to avoid infection; however, you may have to avoid brushing for a few weeks. We can recommend a special mouthwash to clean your mouth without irritation.
•  Avoid physical activities for the first 24 hours.
•  Do not pull at your lip to check out the wound and don’t probe the area with your tongue.
•  To manage any pain and discomfort, we will prescribe you some over-the-counter pain medication.

Gum grafting is a simple minimally-invasive surgical process, and there is a low chance of complications. However, if your pain does not abate overtime or you experience profuse bleeding or pus formation, call us at (503) 878-7474 to get an immediate appointment.
Tualatin Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

(503) 878-7474
8555 SW Tualatin Rd, Tualatin, OR

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