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Individuals concerned about receding gums could undergo a range of soft tissue grafting treatments. When gums recede, teeth often appear longer than normal and can become sensitive. This is due to exposure of root dentine. Gum graft surgery is carried out by a specialist in gum treatment.
Patients will first be examined to ensure the most suitable type of treatment is carried out. If gum disease is present then it will need treating before gum graft surgery can takes place.
Anaesthetic will always be administered before the treatment starts so that the treatment is completely painless. Connective-tissue grafts are the most commonly used technique to treat root exposure. During this procedure, our periodontist will remove a small flap of soft tissue from the roof of the mouth and suture it to the tissue surrounding the exposed root. This method is effective for the prevention of further root exposure, as well as reducing tooth sensitivity.
Free gingival grafts are generally the most useful technique for individuals who have thin gums and need additional tissue to bulk them up. Using this method, our periodontist will remove soft tissue from the roof of the mouth and transplant it to the recipient site in order to create thick tough tissue there. The donor site (the roof of the mouth) will heal normally without any damage to the underlying gums, bone or neighbouring teeth.
Some patients may benefit more from a pedicle graft. During this treatment, the gum is removed from around the tooth in need of repair. The gum will then be pulled over the root and sutured into place. Although this procedure appears to be the simplest option, it is only plausible when there is adequate soft tissue surrounding the damaged part of the tooth.
Specific guidelines will be given following the surgery. This may include an antibacterial mouthwash to speed up the healing process. Painkillers can also be used to deal with any sensitivity and pain that may occur. In addition, it is advised not to smoke after the treatment. Very salty and spicy foods will need to be avoided for a short time after surgery.
With severe gum disease affecting four to twelve percent of adults, we urge patients with bleeding or inflamed gums to seek dental attention. Untreated gum disease can lead to gum recession, tooth mobility, tooth loss and bad breath. Brushing with an electric toothbrush rather than a manual toothbrush can reduce the risk of gum recession through overzealous tooth-brushing.
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