You hear a lot about gum disease, but do you understand its consequences? Many people do not realize the effect conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis can have on their overall health. Without preventive efforts and proper treatment, you could experience severe damage to your gums and even bone loss. Diligent dental habits can help…
The Recovery Process for Gum Grafting
Gum grafting is a relatively straightforward procedure that is used to build up gum tissue where the gingival tissue has receded. The gums are made up of soft tissue that wraps tightly around the teeth to protect the roots. When gums begin to recede or pull back from the teeth, surgery may be necessary to correct this problem.
Gum recession can cause tooth sensitivity, loose teeth and even tooth loss. Receding gums are associated with long periods of poor oral health or gum disease. However, even those who have excellent oral health may still have gum recession. Genetics play a big role in gum recession, as do certain health conditions like diabetes.
During gum grafting surgery
During a gum grafting procedure, the periodontist (a dentist who specializes in gum health) will take tissue from another part of the mouth, such as the palate, and place it onto the area where gum recession has occurred. The tissue is then stitched together, encouraging gum growth and healing. Sometimes, gum tissue can be built up using donor tissue or a synthetic material when there is no healthy tissue available from the patient. The goal is to cover the exposed root and rebuild gum tissue in certain areas.
After the surgery
Immediately following gum grafting surgery, the patient will return home to rest. This recovery period is crucial to the success of the procedure. It is not recommended to return to work after a gum grafting surgery — however, gum grafting does not require more than one day's rest before returning to normal activities. The periodontist will send you home with specific instructions on how to care for your gums. Follow these instructions very closely to ensure the procedure is a success, and to avoid any discomfort postoperatively.
Brush gently around the surgical site, but do not let the bristles come in contact with the surgical site. Be very careful not to scratch or hit the newly grafted gums.
One very important part of recovering from a gum grafting procedure is watching what you eat. A liquid to semi-liquid diet is recommended in the weeks following the surgery. Chewing can be difficult after gum grafting, as irritation is common while eating. Try consuming blended soups, mashed potatoes, applesauce, ice cream, yogurt and pudding in the first few days after surgery. Avoid using a straw to drink through, as the suction could undo some of the dressings on the surgical wound.
Getting enough vitamin D is a crucial part of the healing process — this vitamin is known to reduce inflammation and promote recovery of gum tissue. Make sure to drink plenty of water, as well.
Some soreness is common at the surgical site. This sensitivity should go away within the first few days after surgery. If soreness persists past a week, this may indicate a problem or infection. Be sure to call the dentist if any severe pain arises. However, most pain is mild and can be managed by over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen.
Do you need gum grafting surgery?
If you suspect you may need gum grafting, or if you have noticed any sensitivity or the appearance of longer teeth, it may be time for a gum grafting surgery. Our highly trained dentists can walk you through the procedure and determine what treatment plan and recovery instructions are best for you. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.
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