If your dentist has told you that you need gum grafting, it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. Gum grafting is a surgical treatment that can restore the health of your gums, but if left untreated, the damage may be too extensive for the surgery to be effective.
In some cases, it may be too late for gum grafting to save the gums. If your gums are severely damaged, receding so far back that they expose the tooth’s root, or if there is significant bone loss from advanced gum disease, gum grafting may not be able to restore them to their healthy state. The best option may be to remove the teeth and replace them with dental implants in these cases.
The Gum Grafting Procedure
A gum graft is a minimally invasive procedure that can restore the appearance of your gums when they have been damaged by receding or when there has been a significant bone loss. The treatment may be performed for cosmetic or health reasons, and in most cases, it will help improve both. Gum recession can leave the tooth roots exposed and vulnerable to damage, and bone loss can lead to tooth loss.
Two standard types of gum grafting procedures are typically used – connective tissue grafts and gingival grafts. A connective tissue graft uses a piece of connective tissue from another part of the body, usually from the roof of the mouth. Gingival grafts use a portion of the gingiva, or gum, from another part of your mouth.
Both types of grafts effectively restore the health and appearance of receding gums. Connective tissue grafts are often used when there is significant bone loss, as they can help rebuild the lost bone. Gingival grafts are typically used for cosmetic reasons, to cover up exposed tooth roots, or to improve the appearance of gums that have been damaged by receding.
A traditional gum grafting procedure is performed by removing a small amount of tissue from the roof of your mouth or a different donor site like a tissue bank. The tissue is then cleaned and prepared for implantation. The grafted tissue is then inserted into the space between the teeth and the gums, growing and attaching to the existing gum tissue. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia, and it usually takes less than an hour to complete. It is relatively painless when performed by a skilled periodontist, and little recovery time is necessary.
Factors That Contribute to Gum Recession
Gum recession is when the gum tissue recedes away from the teeth, exposing more of the tooth and root. Gum recession can be caused by periodontal disease or other factors contributing to poor oral health. Some things that may contribute to gum recession include:
- Grinding your teeth when you sleep
- Poor oral hygiene
- Trauma to the gums
- A misaligned bite
If you are concerned about gum recession affecting your mouth, it is crucial to see a periodontist for an evaluation. They will be able to identify the cause of the problem and recommend the appropriate treatment. In most cases, gum grafting will correct the receding gums and protect the teeth from further damage.
Signs & Symptoms of Gum Tissue Damage
Many times, by the time you notice that your gums are damaged or receding, they may be too far gone to be treated with gum grafting alone. However, if you act quickly when you first notice the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease or gum disease, you should be able to prevent more extensive damage from occurring.
The early stages of gum disease are often characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed when brushed or flossed tooth sensitivity, exposed tooth roots, and pain at your tooth’s gum line. If left untreated, the inflammation will progress, and the gums will recede, revealing the tooth roots. The teeth may become loose and fall out when enough healthy gum tissue no longer supports them. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist or periodontist immediately to schedule an appointment.
Gum Grafting vs. Tooth Extraction
In some cases, when the gums have been damaged too severely to be treated with a gum graft, the best option may be to extract the teeth and replace them with dental implants. This is a more invasive procedure than gum grafting, but it can be very effective in restoring the health of the gums and preventing tooth loss.
In most cases, when there has been significant bone loss, dental implants will provide better support for the new artificial teeth than a gum graft. Dental implants are synthetic screws placed into the jawbone to serve as replacement teeth roots. The implants are then fitted with crowns that look like natural teeth. Dental implant surgery is typically done under local anesthetic, and patients report minimal discomfort after a qualified periodontist finishes the work.
Is it too late to have gum grafting performed?
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, it is vital to seek treatment as soon as possible. In the early stages, when there has been minimal damage and slight bone loss, gum grafting may be able to restore your gums to their original state.
However, when the damage is too extensive or when there has been significant bone loss, a gum graft may not be enough to restore the health of your gums. You may need to undergo dental implant surgery to replace lost teeth in these cases.
If You Suffer From Periodontal Disease, Contact Us Today!
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to protect your oral health. Early intervention is the best way to prevent more severe damage from occurring and restore your healthy gums.
For more information about gum grafting or other periodontal treatments, do not hesitate to get in touch with Bergens Periodontics & Implant Dentistry. We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you and answer any questions about gum grafts.