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What You Need To Know About Gum Grafts

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Having good oral hygiene does not just include keeping your teeth in good health. Another part of good oral hygiene is your gum health. The condition of your gums has a lot to do with your teeth. If your gums are in bad shape, you can lose your healthy teeth. One issue you may not know about is gum recession. Over time, the gums can recede if you overbrush or as you age. Gum disease can also cause gum recession. If this happens, you may need a gum graft to repair the tissue. Here is what you need to know:

Gum Graft Defined

A gum graft is a procedure that restores the gum to its natural shape and form. When the gums recede, too much of the teeth's root surface can be exposed. This can lead to painful sensitivity and cavities. A gum graft places harvested tissue from the roof of your mouth to the area of the recession. The procedure requires two steps to remove the tissue from inside the mouth and place it on the gumline.

Gum Graft Types

There is more than one type of gum graft. Each gum graft deals with different issues you need based on your level of gum recession. One type is a connective tissue graft. This graft opens a flap of skin in the top of the mouth to remove some tissue. The tissue is not necessarily completely removed but is flapped over, often called a "trap door" procedure. It is then stitched to the area of gum recession. This is the most common type of gum graft.

A pedicle graft uses tissue found closer to your recessed gums. A flap of tissue covers the receding tissue. The tissue is stitched into place from a localized area rather than flapped over like a connective tissue graft. This procedure is typically the most successful because the blood flow is better. You need a lot of healthy oral tissue for this particular procedure to be successful.

Gum Graft Procedure

You do not need much preparation for a gum graft. The process does not take a long time as long as you had preoperative preparation in which the periodontist identified the tissue to be harvested. The procedure will then take place based on the type of graft you need. You will receive some numbing medication in the area. Once the graft is in place, you will rinse your mouth with mouthwash. You may have to sit in the office for a short period to make sure you do not bleed and that the graft is successful.