Being told that a gum graft may be needed can strike fear into the hearts of the bravest Tribeca Smiles patients. Don't worry — it sounds worse than it is, and our New York, NY general and cosmetic dentist Dr. Frederick Solomon will walk you through the entire process. If needed, it’s important to get a gum graft in order to protect your teeth from the corrosive effects of receding gums. Alternately, many opt to have the procedure simply for the aesthetic purpose of improving the appearance of their teeth. Either way, gum recession is literally the gum tissue pulling away from your teeth. The result is that more of your teeth, even the tooth’s root, are exposed. Root exposure damages the supporting bone, which will need to be addressed. Dental exams are important to identify gum issues. Up to 14% of people don’t even realize they have issues until it’s in advanced stages.
To know if you’d be a good candidate, simply schedule a comprehensive dental exam at Tribeca Smiles so that Dr. Solomon can assess exactly what’s going on. Generally, if your own visual inspections make you think your gums are pulling away from your teeth, you’re most likely a good candidate for grafting, assuming you are also healthy and are not taking medications.You may also be an ideal candidate if you are annoyed at the sight of receding gums, if roots are exposed, if you have increased sensitivity in the exposed areas, or if the gums are continuing to recede. Having the procedure also implies that you are going to make a long-term commitment to taking care of your gums.
What To Expect
There are different kinds of gum grafts to utilize and are based on your particular condition. Connective-tissue grafts are the most common type used to correct root exposure. This involves making an incision in the roof your mouth to create a small flap of skin. The special connective tissue is removed from inside the flap and attached to the receding gum. A free gingival graft is similar except that more tissue is used from the roof of the mouth to shore up particularly thin gums with a greater need for enlargement. The third procedure is a pedicle graft and can be performed on people who have an excess of gum tissue. In such cases, donor tissue (the pedicle) can be pulled directly over or down to cover the exposed root. There are additional techniques, but Dr. Solomon will guide you to the best one for you.
You can go home after the procedure, but as you might expect, you’re going to have to take it easy for a while. If given an oral or intravenous sedative, you’ll also need someone to drive you. Personalized post-op instructions include learning about the best diet for recovery, what type of physical activity to avoid, and what medication to take. Pain will be a minor issue. The worst pain is from having tissue removed from your palate, which has only been compared to feeling like a pizza burn on the roof of your mouth. Fortunately, the whole thing heals quickly. Recovery is the one period where you won’t brush or floss the area until it’s healed, so you’ll be given a cleansing mouth rinse. Stick with soft, cool foods like eggs, pasta, and ice cream for a couple weeks. After that amount of time, your recovery should be complete.
Plan Your Procedure
Getting to the Root Of it
Gum grafting surgery is an advanced technique used to restore your teeth to the health they used to be. It’s all part of the innovative spirit we have at Tribeca Smiles and with our periodontal partners, so that you can keep your own teeth longer with healthier treatments. Dr. Solomon likes to treat his patients as a whole. He sees all of your conditions in context so that you can always rely on receiving excellent care.