Gum Grafting in Fairfax: Improving Your Smile

A gum graft goes by many names. You may hear it referred to as “gingival grafting” or “periodontal plastic surgery.” Regardless, all of the names are talking about the same treatment, which is a gum tissue graft to replace damaged tissue, or restore tissue that has been lost due to gum recession.

Why do I need a gum tissue graft?

When your dentist looks at you and says you need gum surgery, it sounds pretty bad. I’m sure all kinds of horrendous thoughts race through your mind, but in reality it is a straightforward, relatively painless procedure with quick recovery times.

Here are a few signs indicating that you may need a gingival graft:

  • sensitivity in one or more teeth
  • a loss of gum tissue around the top of your teeth
  • exposed tooth roots
  • a loose tooth or multiple teeth
  • pain when eating

And more. Gum recession can lead to a loss of teeth and more complex dental problems down the road. So if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to see a dentist immediately.

What happens during the gingival grafting procedure?

If you and one of our dentists decide that a gum graft is the right treatment for you, you’ll need to discuss the different types of gingival grafting procedures. There are three primary procedures, and the one used will depend on which procedure works best for your specific situation.

Connective-Tissue Grafting

During this type of graft, a small flap is created at the top of the mouth in order to obtain the connective tissue that will be used during the procedure. This connective tissue is removed and carefully connected to the tissue already surrounding the tooth root. The small flap created will be stitched back down.

Free Gingival Grafting

This method is similar to the one used above, except that tissue is taken directly from the roof of the mouth to create the graft. This type of graft is usually for patients who have thin gums due to genetics, and are looking to build up their gums and get rid of the “big teeth” look.

Pedicle Gum Grafting

This least common type of grafting uses tissue from the gums near a tooth that is in need of grafting. The gums are essentially pulled down to help cover the exposed root. The reason this procedure is not as common as the other two is because it can only be performed on individuals who have a significant amount of gum tissue already available.

What about recovery?

A sedative will be used for your procedure, meaning you’ll likely need to make arrangements to be driven home from our dental office.

Following your gum grafting surgery, you’ll be asked to eat only soft foods for approximately 2 weeks to give your mouth time to heal. There are generally no long-term side effects to gingival grafting, but if you experience any bleeding or other complications, please call our Fairfax office.

What Now?

If you think “periodontal plastic surgery” is right for you, then contact our Fairfax office today at 703-691-5247 in order to schedule your appointment with one of our dentists. We look forward to seeing you shortly!