Do Your Gums Look Great – or Could They Use Some Help?
If you have noticed receding gums lately, it may be because you have a gum disease called periodontitis. This form of gum disease follows the less severe form called gingivitis. The primary cause of periodontitis is a lack of proper care of your teeth – brushing and flossing. Periodontitis is the primary reason why adults lose their teeth today.
As your gums recede, which most often occurs slowly, the roots of your teeth will become exposed. Because your roots do not have the same amount of enamel on them to protect them from the bacteria that causes cavities, they will decay faster and cavities will form. In order to correct this problem, and get the roots of your teeth protected again, gum graft surgery will be necessary. Gums do not grow back on their own.
In addition, periodontal disease does not merely destroy your gums, but also the structures that hold your teeth in place, and your jawbone. If not treated, your teeth will become loose and then may fall out. Periodontal disease will need to be successfully treated before a gum graft surgery can be performed. This may involve antibiotics and a procedure called scaling and root planing.
What Is Gum Graft Surgery?
Gum graft surgery involves the taking of tissue from other places and patching it onto the gums to cover the tooth roots to restore the natural line of your gums. In addition to being able to protect your teeth again, it will also make your smile more appealing.
Procedures Involved in Gum Graft Surgery
As part of your gum disease treatment, the periodontist may also perform gum graft surgery. There are three different types of gum surgery, and which method is used will be worked out between the periodontist and the patient. It will also depend on the extent of the damage. The three kinds are:
Connective Tissue Grafts – This procedure involves the making a flap in the roof of the mouth and then taking tissue from underneath it. It is then closed back up. The removed tissue is stitched onto the area to cover the tooth roots.
Free Gingival Grafts – In this procedure, some of the top tissue layer is taken from the roof of the mouth and then stitched onto the gums to cover the area where gum loss has occurred.
Pedicle Grafts – This method involves the taking of gum tissue near the tooth root (when there is a sufficient amount) that has been exposed and cuts part of it, leaving one edge attached, and stretches it to cover the tooth root. The other edge is then stitched to keep it in place. On occasion, the periodontist may need to get gum tissue from a tissue bank.
How Long Does It Take to Recover?
During the procedure, you most likely will be given a local anesthesia, but a general anesthesia may sometimes be necessary. If gum tissue is removed from your palate, you can expect that there will be some pain and discomfort afterward for a few days.
During the recovery time, you will need to be limited to eating soft foods afterward for one or two weeks. This can include cool foods such as eggs, jello, pasta, cottage cheese, ice cream and well-cooked vegetables. In most cases, an NSAID is all you will need to help with the pain.
Healing normally takes place within one or two weeks. A follow-up appointment will be necessary so that the periodontist can assure that healing is taking place as expected. It will take about a month or more for complete healing. You will be able to continue brushing and flossing after about two weeks.
Advantages and Complications of a Gum Graft
With any type of surgery, complications are always possible. Gum treatment of this type rarely has problems, but it is possible that the gum graft may not adapt to the new site. If this occurs, the surgery can be performed again.
Another potential problem is that you might not like the way that your gums look after they have healed. If this is a problem, you may want the periodontist to reshape your gums to make it more appealing.
What Is the Cost of a Gum Graft?
The cost of a gum graft will depend on the extent of the surgery and how many teeth roots need to be covered. Patients should expect that gum graft surgery cost would be around $600 to $1,200 per procedure. If tissue is needed from a tissue bank, the cost can be expected to double - or more.
Taking care of your teeth and gums will prevent periodontitis and help you keep your teeth longer. This involves brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing. It is much cheaper to brush and floss regularly with regular dental checkups than to need expensive surgery for gum repair.
If you need gum graft surgery and live in the Carrollton, TX and Grapevine, TX areas, you can get a gum graft from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. For more information about his gum recession treatment, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (817) 756-8578.