Gum grafting is a crucial periodontal procedure that can help save your teeth from the effects of receding gums. However, past a certain point, it may be too late to see a benefit from this procedure.
It could be too late to do periodontal gum grafting when significant bone loss from gum disease has already compromised the area. It may also be too late when the gums have receded so far that they expose the teeth's roots.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an inflammation or infection of the gums and the bones that support the teeth. Inadequate oral hygiene is a significant cause of the disorder, though it can also be genetic.
The first stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. Gums start to bleed when brushing or flossing. This stage of gum disease is entirely reversible if patients step up their at-home oral care routines and have their teeth professionally cleaned twice yearly.
When untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, which can eventually lead to tooth loss due to the infection and breakdown of the jawbone around the teeth.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
Be aware of these symptoms, and if you notice any developing problems, contact your periodontist immediately for an evaluation:
- Severe bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Swollen, red gums
- Bleeding, tender gums
- Pain on chewing
- Sensitive teeth susceptible to heat and cold
- Loose teeth
- More space between teeth
- Receding gums
- Change in dental bite
The sooner you see a periodontist for gum disease, the greater your chance of slowing its progress and saving your teeth.
The Gum Grafting Procedure
Gum grafts help save teeth endangered by periodontal disease when performed in time. During a gum grafting procedure, the periodontist takes healthy tissue from elsewhere in the mouth, typically from the palate (the roof of the mouth), and surgically applies it to the compromised area. They may also use donor tissue.
First, the periodontist numbs your gums and teeth with local anesthesia. They make an incision to create a flap in your gum. They will clean your teeth roots at this time.
The periodontist takes the gum graft material from your palate and places it over the exposed roots. They then suture the incisions closed.
Gum graft surgery takes about an hour for one tooth. You will not feel pain during the procedure but may feel sore afterward while the gum graft heals. Follow your periodontist's post-surgical instructions.
Please Don't Wait Until It's Too Late
If you notice any signs of gum disease, be sure to tell your general dentist or periodontist as soon as possible. Early interventions can give you a better chance of a positive outcome, but frequently, patients do not seek help until it is too late to stop the disease's progress.
Call Christopher J. Couri, DDS, MS
Since the effectiveness of gum grafting wanes as periodontal disease progresses, intervene at an earlier stage by contacting Christopher J. Couri, DDS, MS. We can evaluate your gum disease and determine the best course of treatment in your situation. Call our Peoria, IL office at 309-674-4148 for an appointment.