Over time, periodontal disease will cause your gum tissue to deteriorate. This exposes your teeth and gumline to more bacteria and can also be quite painful. Gum recession also causes tooth sensitivity and may lead to tooth loss or the need for extractions in the future. Additionally, gum grafting could be used for cosmetic purposes. There are several types of gum grafts available. We will provide you with further details on the procedure and recovery at Glen Perio.
Types of Gum Grafts
There are three kinds of gum grafts that we provide. These include free gingival, connective tissue, and pedicle grafts. Free gingival grafts are taken from the surface of the mouth roof (palate). Connective tissue grafts are the type used most often, but they are a bit more invasive. They are similar to free gingival grafts, but they come from the tissue under the mouth roof surface (subepithelial tissue). Pedicle grafts are harder to get since they require a lot of healthy gum tissue, which is difficult to find when patients have periodontitis. These grafts are taken from the surrounding, healthy gum tissue and do not cut off the blood supply in other areas of the mouth.
We will use a local anesthetic for any type of gum graft. Though you will remain awake throughout the procedure, you will not feel any discomfort. For connective tissue grafts, we begin by cutting the roof of the mouth to create a flap. We take tissue from under the flap and stitch it to the area of the gum needing the graft. After this is placed, we stitch the flap back down.
The process for free gingival grafts is very similar to that of connective tissue grafts. The only difference is that tissue is removed from the surface of the palate rather than from underneath it. So, a flap does not need to be created. Once again, this is stitched to the gum.
For pedicle grafts, we create a flap in the healthy gum tissue located near the site needing repair. We leave one side attached so that we can pull this flap over the damaged area. Once it is in place, we can stitch the tissue. Additionally, we can sometimes use tissue grafts from donor sources. We can also use tissue-stimulating proteins, which are generally administered in a gel form, to encourage the natural regrowth of tissue.
Local anesthetic will last for a few hours after the procedure. We will give you a prescription mouth rinse to prevent infection. You may also be given a prescription antibiotic. We will explain after-care instructions that include diet and hygiene. You should not brush the area until it is healed as it can cause inflammation or pull the stitches out. Generally, we recommend soft foods for a couple of days following your procedure. It is normal to feel a slight tenderness, which hard foods would exasperate. Over-the-counter pain medication or anti-inflammatories can usually resolve these symptoms but be sure to ask our periodontist for specific instructions. You should be fully healed within two weeks. For more information about gum grafting, call Glen Perio at 224-488-3392 now.