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Gum Grafts

When your gums are receding the gums begin to pull up from the roots of the teeth. This exposes the root surfaces, which are more likely to develop decay because they aren’t covered with enamel, as the upper surfaces of the teeth are. It also makes those areas more sensitive and prone to abrasion.

A gum graft may be necessary to reinforce the gum tissue to avoid further gum recession. This procedure is best done as soon as he identifies which area is weak. Also known as a gingival graft, these procedures are simple surgeries performed by Dr. Slepchik at our downtown Montreal offices. 

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What is a gum graft?

A gum graft is exactly like any other graft in the body, whether it is bone grafting to increase jawbone mass or skin grafting to heal a wound. In the gum graft procedure, the gum tissue is taken from the roof of the patient’s mouth or from the nearby healthy gum tissue. It is then attached to the area where the gums have receded. The procedure is simple, and recovery is not difficult.

Why might I need gum grafting?

Gum grafts are necessary to address receding gums. When your gums recede, this exposes more of the tooth root, which is normally covered by the gums.  Because the roots are exposed, those teeth with gum recession will be more sensitive to hot and cold, and to sweet or spicy foods. Gum recession is frequently the result of gum disease, as the infected gums are forming pockets and pulling away from the teeth. It can also be due to overly aggressive tooth brushing or improper brushing techniques. In most cases, misaligned teeth are the primary cause of receding gums.

Would I be a good candidate to have gum grafting?

The problem of a receding gum line doesn’t happen overnight. Because of that, many patients don’t realize their gums are beginning to expose the root surface. That’s the purpose of measuring your gum length during your exams and professional teeth cleanings with your hygienist.

Anyone with gum recession is a good candidate for a gum graft. But if the recession is caused by gum disease, we need to address that before we could perform any grafting. After all, it is the periodontal disease that is causing your gums to recede. If this is mainly due to tartar buildup that is moving under the gumline, we may perform  root scaling and root planning to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth and  root surfaces. This will allow your gums to heal and tighten back down over the roots again.

How is a gum graft done with Dr. Slepchik?

This procedure is performed in our office using  local anesthesia. Depending on your unique needs, Dr. Slepchik will perform your grafting procedure this way:

  • Free gingival graft — Dr. Slepchik removes a small piece of gum tissue from the roof of your mouth, and this tissue is stitched into a place where needed.

This is not a long dental appointment. Once Dr. Slepchik has sutured your graft into position, you’ll rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash. We’ll then review with you how you will care for your new gum graft.

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How Do I Prepare for the Gum Grafting Procedure?

In addition to practicing excellent oral care that includes brushing and flossing, you may be prescribed an antibiotic to take prior to your surgery. This is necessary in some cases in which there is an increased risk of infection. If you are a smoker, we recommend you quit in order to have optimal healing. Finally, you may be recommended to avoid certain medications and/or supplements that could increase your risk of bleeding during and after your procedure. 

Recovery and Aftercare for the Graft Procedure

You will receive specific aftercare instructions that will facilitate your healing after your graft. Examples of what is included in these instructions are how and when to resume brushing and flossing, how and when and with what to rinse your mouth to reduce infection, and what to eat. If you have questions , please do not hesitate to contact the office for assistance. 

Is A Graft Painful?

During your dental procedure, you will be completely comfortable. This is because you will be comfortably frozen with the Dental Vibe and the Wand as usual; we will not begin the procedure until you give us the ok that you are comfortably frozen. The freezing will last for a few hours.    You can begin taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) .  You may expect mild to moderate discomfort for a few days . The discomfort may be slightly noticeable but will not interfere with your ability to enjoy your normal day-to-day activities. 

What Will Be My Diet After This Appointment?

Your graft needs time to heal . The best way to allow this is to stick to a soft-food diet.   The ideal range of foods includes cold foods that are soft like yogurt or ice cream.  Examples include room-temperature scrambled eggs, soup, pudding, ice cream, yogurt, and smoothies. We suggest avoiding acidic foods and carbonated beverages for several days. After about three days of mostly liquids, you may add in pasta, rice, and warm (but not hot ) soups or cooked soft vegetables. We suggest you avoid chewing on the surgical side of your mouth until we see you for your follow up appointment to check your healing. 

How Soon Will I See the Results?

Your gums may be slightly red or swollen for one to two weeks after your graft.  While you will see some difference in the appearance of your smile right away, your full results will become apparent three to four weeks after this dental appointment. 

Is gum grafting permanent?

Once the grafted gum tissue successfully takes to its new locations, these are permanent. As long as you follow a regimen of attentive home oral hygiene, your gum grafts will be there for a long time.

Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that new gum problems cannot develop, but more attentive home care normally prevents that.

Are there any foods I will need to avoid after having a gum graft?

You cannot eat or drink anything for three hours after your surgery. moving to soft/liquid foods after that. Avoid chips, nuts, rice, popcorn etc which may get stuck. Avoid hot foods and drinks and food that requires active chewing while your mouth is still frozen. Protein/nutritional drinks are a good idea, as are smoothies and foods such as yogurt. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you’re interested in learning more about a graft, please contact us for a consultation at 514-875-7971 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine what is the most appropriate treatment  for you.