Gum recession is a process where gum becomes detached from the tooth, leaving more surface area, and possibly even the root, exposed. Because gum recession happens gradually, people often do not notice until it becomes severe. Over time, an exposed tooth root can look unpleasant and also cause sensitivity. It may even cause tooth loss if left untreated. To repair damage done by gum recession, a patient may need to undergo gum grafting surgery. Gum grafting is a procedure in which surrounding tissue is attached to the gum line as a way of treating gum recession.
There are different ways in which a gum graft may be performed:
- Connective-tissue grafts – This is the most common method in which a flap of skin is cut from the roof of the mouth so that tissue may be removed from underneath the flap. The tissue is then stitched to the gums so that the two can heal together.
- Free gingival grafts – This is similar to a connective tissue graft, except that tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth without cutting a flap. This is used most often on patients who have naturally thin gums.
- Pedicle grafts – Instead of taking tissue from the roof of the mouth, this method of gum grafting takes tissue directly from the surrounding gum line. A flap is cut from the gums and then pulled to cover the exposed root before being sewn in place.
You may experience pain or discomfort following the procedure, but wounds caused by gum grafting tend to heal quickly. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may be useful during the few days following the procedure. To help prevent further gum recession, you can practice regular maintenance. By brushing and flossing daily, visiting your dentist regularly and eating healthy, you can reduce the risk of another gum recession. For more information on gum grafting in Overland Park, KS, contact Lara Tull-Ryan at Johnson County Periodontics today.