Washington DC & Alexandria VA
Gum Grafting Washington DC & Alexandria VA
Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that thickens existing gums or covers exposed root surfaces to prevent gum recession from advancing. Exposed roots can develop for a variety of reasons, the most common being gum disease and/or aggressive brushing. Gum grafting will improve the aesthetic appearance of your teeth and provide additional protection from common side effects of gum recession, such a increased tooth
sensitivity and susceptibility to periodontitis.
At Precision Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, our specialty trained periodontists Dr. Justin Zalewsky and Dr. Antara Daru have years of experience treating a wide range of stages of gum disease and placing dental implants. To learn more about the gum grafting procedure, our clinic facilities, or to schedule an appointment, contact our Alexandria, VA office at (703) 823-2422 or our Washington D.C. office at (202) 296-3360.
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Types of Gum Grafts
There are a variety of gum grafts that can be performed. Which graft is right for you will depend upon your particular case. The available grafting option material types include the following:
- Allograft: Allograft is an artificial gum tissue graft that is highly effective and a popular approach, given that it is not required to take issue from other areas of your mouth. The artificial graft will be placed in the area in need of repair, which will enable the gums to repair themselves by growing new tissue cells. Once the regeneration process is complete, the tissue will be restored to its origin condition and have the same resilience, elasticity, and feel of healthy tissue.
- Connective Tissue Grafts: Connective tissue grafts involve making a small flap into the palate in order to remove tissue under the top layer, which is then stitched around the exposed root, after which the flap is stitched down.
- Free Gingival Grafts: Similar to connective tissue grafts, free gingival grafts differ only in that a piece of tissue is removed from the palate and is then used to cover the exposed tooth. Commonly recommended for patients with thin gum tissue.
- Pedicle Grafts: Pedicle grafts involve pulling a flap of tissue over the exposed tooth root then stitching this into position. Commonly reserved for patients with plenty of gum tissue close to the exposed root.
Gum Grafting Procedure
If it has been determined at your initial appointment that a gum graft is your best treatment option, you will need to schedule a follow-up appointment. The procedure will begin with administration of a local anesthetic. Once properly numbed, your periodontist will make small incisions to create a flap that allows space for the graft to be placed. Once the graft has been properly position, the flap will be sutured shut, which will prevent the graft from moving and allow the healing process to begin.
Gum Grafting Procedure Aftercare
Following your gum graft, it is important to follow post-operative instructions. Stick to a soft food diet for at least one to two weeks after the procedure and avoid any foods that are extremely cold or extremely hot. It is also important to avoid brushing or flossing around the gum line until the area has fully healed. In some cases, your periodontist may prescribe antibiotics to speed up the recovery process and reduce the risk of infection and/or pain medication to help manage any pain associated with the recovery process. If you follow these best practices, your graft should be fully healed within one to two weeks.
Once you have completed the recovery process, it will not be necessary to follow special aftercare instructions, although it is important to be aware of the reason this procedure was needed in the first place. Continue practicing good daily oral hygiene practices. Brush and floss twice daily and schedule regular visits to your periodontist. These regular visits ensure that your teeth will receive regular professional cleanings, and will reduce your risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis. If you follow these best practices, you will enjoy a bright and healthy smile for many years to come.