Gum Tissue Graft Surgery – Why Do I Need it?

Any surgery always sounds scary, and no one is really ever that thrilled to have to “go under the knife.” If you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed or a root canal, the thought of having any other oral surgery will be less appealable than usual. But if you’ve been told by your dentist or periodontist that you need a gum graft surgery, you can relax a little. It sounds far worse that it is, and it doesn’t have nearly the painful recovery of a root canal or wisdom teeth extraction.

So why do you need this type of surgery at all?

Most gum grafts are prescribed due to gum recession, which can be caused by gum disease or aggressive brushing. Gum recession is a process where the gum line that surrounds your teeth starts to recede toward your jawbone and expose the root. With the root exposed, your teeth will become more sensitive to temperature, home dental care, and dental cleanings. If left untreated, some foods–such as those with high sugar content–can actually become painful to chew on the side of the exposed root. At the extreme scenario, gum recession can cause tooth loss.

Gum recession is far more common than one would believe, and gum disease isn’t the villain most of the time. Sometimes people are a bit to vigorous with their teeth brushing technique, or they use the wrong type of toothbrush, or they try to physically brush their teeth while using an electric toothbrush, which will erode the gums much like how rivers consume more of the river banks over time. The process is also just as slow as the river erosion, so most patients do not notice it until it becomes severe.

To prevent irreparable damage to the teeth, dentists and periodontists normally recommend a gum graft procedure to help stop additional recession and protect the already exposed root.

Next week, we will go over the types of gum graft procedures and what to expect. If you have any questions before then, remember, to never ever hesitate contacting your dentist.

 

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