Periodontal disease, usually referred to as gum disease, carries enormous risk of developing into more serious dental health problems. In addition to the bleeding gums and bad breath that typically accompany gum disease, you may develop gum problems that only can be fixed with surgery. At Albany County Dental Associates, your dentist helps you prevent gum disease. Should you need a gum graft to repair damaged gums, you’re in the best hands. Don’t wait for your teeth to loosen before you make an appointment. A gum graft may seem scary, but it’s a walk in the park compared to losing your teeth.
A gum graft is a procedure through which your dentist takes healthy skin from another area of your mouth to fix receding gums. While it’s normally the last and most serious option for receding gums, gum grafting is a safe and simple procedure. It’s not usually something to worry about.
If you need a gum graft, consult with an experienced and professional dental team, such as Albany County Dental Associates. They feature many areas of specialization can make sure you get the care you need. But before deciding that you need gum graft surgery, it’s best to understand what’s involved, why you would need it, and what your other options are.
Do You Need a Gum Graft?
Gum graft surgery is one treatment for periodontitis or gum disease. Gingivitis is a less severe form of gum disease that involves inflamed or bleeding gums. All periodontitis begins with gingivitis. Early periodontitis is also caused by the build-up of harmful bacteria around the gum line. But there’s no need to panic if you have gingivitis, since it’s caused by many different factors and is normally treatable.
Gum inflammation and receding gums can sometimes just be caused by brushing your teeth too hard or by using a toothbrush that has bristles that are too hard. All you need to do is improve your daily dental hygiene routine and see your family dentist for routine bi-annual cleanings.
You’re not alone if you suffer from some form of gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “In its more serious form, called periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out. Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats to dental health. A recent CDC report provides the following data related to prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S.:
- 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
- Periodontal disease increases with age, and 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.”
Many people don’t realize the importance of brushing thoroughly but gently right at the spot where your gums meet your teeth. If bacteria build up enough between your gums and teeth, you might develop severe periodontitis that requires gum grafting to repair.
Notice the Signs of Gum Disease
Any big changes in your dental health could be signs of gingivitis or early-stage periodontitis. If you notice overly sensitive or bleeding gums, loose teeth, pain while chewing or persistent bad breath, talk to your dentist. The CDC points to vital risk factors that can lead to the need for a gum graft following gum disease that includes:
Begin by adjusting your oral hygiene routine based on recommendations from your family dentist. If this doesn’t help, you may need a deep cleaning treatment to remove plaque and tartar buildup around and under your gums. Antibiotics represent a complementary treatment. Your dentist resorts to gum graft surgery only if all of these methods don’t work and the dentist notices gum recession that’s severe.
The Procedure and Aftercare
There are a few different types of gum grafts. Normally, a local anesthetic is enough to make the procedure manageable. At Albany Dental, you also have the option of state-of-the-art sedation dentistry, particularly if you have very sensitive gums or are especially anxious about the treatment.
There usually are no special preparations needed, so you can just show up at the scheduled time for your procedure. Your dentist takes some skin from the roof of your mouth or nearby. The next step involves grafting it onto your receding gums. This prevents the rapid deterioration of gums and promotes full recovery. You may have some discomfort following the surgery, but your doctor may prescribe pain relievers for a couple days. You may be able to get by with just over-the-counter remedies.
Commonly, you have to change your diet to be gentle on your gums as they heal. You may also be advised to use a special mouthwash. Proper dental care is imperative for gum graft recovery and to make sure that you fully combat periodontitis. Complications are uncommon with this simple procedure, but make sure to keep in close contact with your dental team. Notify them if anything is bothering you. With a gum graft and some lifestyle changes, you should be on your way to full gum health.