How does gum grafting work
Gum grafting is an oral surgery that involves replacing tissue in areas where there is minimal or no gum tissue. At our Pennant Hills dental practice, our dental professionals carry out the treatment with the use of advanced technology, equipment and techniques.
Gum grafting can help minimise the risk of further gum recession and can cover exposed tooth roots. The whole process is done under local anaesthetic, so once the area is numb, you shouldn’t feel a thing.
The grafting procedure
The tissue we use in a gum graft can come from a variety of places, but most commonly, our dentists take it from the roof of your mouth (palate). They then suture the replacement tissue in place, where it’s required using an ultra-fine material (finer than a strand of hair).
The natural healing process
Once your dentist completes your gum graft treatment, your body’s natural healing process does the rest. It develops new blood vessels that encourage the grafted gum to integrate with the gum tissue surrounding it.
Gum graft treatments in Pennant Hills
Gum grafting aftercare
Aftercare after any oral surgery is important. Your dentist will explain the aftercare instructions to you in detail, but here’s what you can generally expect the aftercare to involve:
- Straight after your procedure, your dentist will give you a piece of gauze to bite down on for around 30 minutes to help stop any bleeding.
- If you were under sedation for your procedure or took any anxiolytic medication, you will require an adult to drive you home and keep you company for the rest of the day until any effects have fully worn off.
- Your lips, tongue and cheek may be numb for several hours after your treatment, so it’s important to be mindful to not bite yourself unbeknownst to you.
- Don’t rinse your mouth out, drink with a straw or spit for a minimum of 12 hours post-treatment.
- Using ice packs for the first 24 hours post gum grafting can help to reduce inflammation. You can place ice packs on the outside of your cheek near the area for 20 to 30 minutes at a time every few hours.
- Avoid the operated area with your toothbrush for 3 to 4 weeks.
- On the first night after your gum grafting, it can be a good idea to sleep with your head slightly elevated on two pillows.
- 24 hours post-surgery, you can begin to gently rinse your mouth out with Savacol mouth wash or some warm salty water. We recommend you do this every 4 or 5 hours to help keep the site disinfected.
- Alcohol and tobacco products, along with strenuous exercise, should be strictly avoided for the first 48 hours post-treatment. Tobacco products can delay or complicate the healing process, so ideally, it’s best to avoid them completely until you’re fully recovered.
- We recommend you consume a soft food diet (soup, yoghurt, scrambled eggs) for up to a week. You can start to reintroduce harder foods into your diet gradually as you feel comfortable doing so.
- If you usually wear dentures, do not wear them again until your dentist has advised you to do so.
- While some discomfort after the treatment is normal, you shouldn’t experience excessive pain, swelling, bleeding or have a fever. If you experience any of these things in the days following your procedure, please contact us.
- The follow-up appointment with your dentist is usually 7 days post-surgery. During this appointment, they will assess your recovery and take out the stitches.
Common causes of gum recession
Health Direct estimates that as many as 3 out of every 10 Australian adults have a form of gum disease, including gum recession. Gum disease is an advanced form of gingivitis that typically comes about from a build-up of bacteria and plaque on your teeth and gums that’s left to linger.
Receding gums may be also be caused by one or more of the following factors:
- Overly vigorous tooth brushing
- Tartar build-up
- Use of tobacco products
- Hormonal changes in females
- Dry mouth
- Clenching or grinding of your teeth
- Illnesses and diseases (like diabetes and HIV)