When Is Gum Graft Surgery Necessary?

Contrary to popular belief, periodontal disease is not just a problem for older people. According to the American Academy of Periodontology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately half of all American adults over the age of 30 experience some form of gum disease, which ranges from mild gingivitis to severe periodontitis. As gum disease progresses, it causes damage to the underlying soft and connective tissue in the gums, causing symptoms like gum recession. 

The good news is that the sooner gum disease is diagnosed and treated, the more options there are to prevent long term damage that may ultimately result in tooth loss. Gum graft surgery is one of the treatments our dentists and periodontists offer at Scott Young, DDS, in The Woodlands, Texas.

Gum graft surgery for gum disease

Gum disease is incredibly common, but it can take a toll on your oral health if left untreated. Getting treatment as soon as possible and when it’s in the earlier stages is the best way to prevent permanent damage and tooth loss. Gum graft surgery is recommended when the gums have receded enough to expose the roots of your teeth. 

As the gums recede, they form pockets between the tooth and the gums, which become a breeding ground for bacteria buildup. Over time, the bacteria hardens into plaque and tartar, putting you at risk for infections, tooth decay, and advanced gum disease. Also known as periodontitis, advanced gum disease can cause bone and tissue loss and eventually result in tooth loss.

In addition to gum disease, factors like your genetics and family history, hormones, lack of dental care, and even aggressive brushing can cause gum recession. Unlike a receding hairline, gum recession isn’t always visible to the naked eye, so going to the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings is the best way to stay on top of your oral health.

A gum graft may also be available for cosmetic improvements to your smile.

How gum graft surgery works

Gum graft surgery is performed in the office. Tissue is attached or “grafted” over the tooth to sufficiently cover the exposed roots and restore your natural gum line. The tissue for the graft is either taken from the palette or soft tissue in your mouth, or donated from a tissue bank. 

Depending on your procedure, the recovery period usually takes a few days and you may have to eat a restricted diet of soft foods or take medication to reduce the risk of infection while you heal. Overall, gum grafts are a standard dental procedure used to improve your smile and halt the progression of gum disease and other oral health problems. 

For more information about gum graft surgery and other restorative dentistry services available at our office in The Woodlands, Texas, contact us to schedule an appointment, or you can request an appointment online.

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