What is gum grafting?
Gum graft, also known as a gingival graft, is a type of dental surgery performed to correct receding gum. During a relatively simple and fast procedure, the periodontist is removing healthy gum tissue from the roof of the mouth, filling the part of your mouth with new gum tissue where your current gum tissue is receding.
Why do gum graft?
Some people choose to have a gum graft for aesthetic reasons, as they are not totally satisfied with their smile; while for others, a gum graft is necessary to protect teeth from damage and repair any damage already done. The formation of the gum recession is a slow process, many people realize it only when it’s already causing symptoms. As the root of the tooth is exposed more, the most common first sign of gum wear is the increased sensitivity, especially when eating or drinking hot or cold foods, also the tooth has more risks of cavities. Immediate treatment is necessary, as untreated gum recession could eventually lead to tooth loss.
What can cause gum recession?
- Bacteria of periodontal disease
- Long-term aggressive brushing
- Having braces
- Thin gum tissue may predispose to recession
- Bad habits as smoking
- Certain hormonal processes due to pregnancy or the age of the person
- Severe trauma to the mouth
Options of gum graft
In case of necessity, there is a variety of gum grafts available. During a dental visit, our periodontist is going to explain the different types of surgery available to decide which option is the most suitable. The type of surgery undertaken depends on the extent and severity of existing damage considering a person’s individual needs.
- Pedunculated gingival graft:
Part of the gingiva near the area to be treated is lifted and a sample is taken from it, with the idea of stretching it and covering the periapical root. In this case, there is no donor area but it is the gum itself that protects the tooth that has been exposed.
- With palatal tissue:
This technique is the one used most frequently and involves obtaining a tissue sample from the patient’s own palate (donor area) and grafting it into the area to be repaired.
- Tunneling (“pinhole”):
We do micro access in the upper area of the gum and we displace this gingiva to the area to treat. This technique can be complemented with palatal tissue.
How a gum graft can help the success of dental implant surgery?
One of the most important aspects of gum grafts, and perhaps the ones that are less often talked about, is their application to the success of dental implant surgery.
The gum around the implant must be of good quality, that is, attached or inserted gingiva.
This gingiva is attached to deep levels, acting as a barrier to prevent the access of bacterias in the gum and transmitting it to the implant, which can become infected, first producing mucositis (infection and inflammation that affects only the gum, without reaching the bone, without bone loss) that can evolve to peri-implantitis, which means damage to the bone that surrounds the implant, which can be lost and ending in the loss of the implant.
This gingiva inserted around the implant is essential to avoid inflammation and infection of the gingiva and that it subsequently spreads to the bone. In addition, a good volume of gingiva inserted around the implant is going to improve the final aesthetics with the crown. This technique is especially recommended in implants in the front area.
The best way to control our oral health is through regular dental and professional hygiene controls including oral hygiene teaching, thus preventing situations that require surgical procedures of gum grafts.
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