Restore the Health and Appearance of Your Gums
A gum graft is a procedure that uses healthy tissue to cover tooth roots exposed by gingival recession. Also known as a soft tissue graft, this treatment can improve your periodontal health and create a more uniform and attractive gum line. Left untreated, gum recession can cause dental sensitivity and more serious oral health issues, including bone deterioration and tooth loss. Dr. Benjamin D. Ahlbrecht at North Meridian Dental Excellence in Indianapolis, IN, can perform a gum grafting procedure to restore the health and appearance of your smile.
Causes and Dangers of Gum Recession
Gum recession is a gradual process in which the tissue pulls away from the tooth and root. While gum disease is often the cause of recession, this condition can also result from:
- Over-aggressive brushing
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Bite misalignment or crooked teeth
- Ill-fitting restorations or dental appliances
- Hormonal changes, such as those in puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
- Tobacco products
- Piercings of the lip or tongue that rub against the gums
Since gum recession happens gradually, the first sign of recession is typically dental sensitivity. You may also notice that a tooth appears longer than normal. After gums recede, it is easier for bacteria to accumulate between teeth. In serious cases, the supporting tissues and bone can suffer irreversible damage.
Benefits of Gum Grafting
Besides addressing discomfort, a gum graft at North Meridian Dental Excellence can provide many benefits. Restoring your gum line can protect your tooth roots from bacteria and decay while improving the aesthetics of your smile.
The Gum Graft Procedure
In a typical gum grafting treatment, a member of our team will first clean your teeth thoroughly to remove any tartar or bacteria. Next, the tissue graft is harvested, usually from the roof of the mouth. Anesthetic is used to make this part of the procedure as comfortable as possible. Sedation is also available, if needed.
Restoring your gum line can protect your tooth roots from bacteria and decay while improving the aesthetics of your smile.
Once the treatment site has been numbed, Dr. Ahlbrecht can make an incision and create a small pocket to accommodate the graft. He can then carefully insert the graft. Usually, the graft is slightly larger than the recession area. Dr. Ahlbrecht will place sutures to stabilize the graft and prevent it from shifting.
For a week or two after the procedure, you may experience some swelling or discomfort. We recommend eating cool, soft foods such as yogurt, pasta, or ice cream. You should avoid flossing or brushing the treatment area until it heals. To prevent infection, Dr. Ahlbrecht may prescribe an antibiotic as well as an antimicrobial mouthwash, which should be used as directed. Most patients manage discomfort with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or other pain medications.
Protect Your Oral Health
Left untreated, gum recession can have serious consequences. If you are concerned your gums are receding, or if you are not visiting a dentist regularly for checkups, please contact our office online or call us at (317) 571-5000 to schedule a consultation.
"North Meridian Dental Excellence is great! They've somehow cracked the code on making a trip to the dentist an enjoyable experience. Dr. Ahlbrecht and his team are all great to work with. Everyone is extremely friendly, nice and fun, while maintaining a professional, clean and private environment."Nick E.