Don’t Be Nervous! What to Expect from Gum Grafting

Your oral health is interconnected. Some folks struggle with cavities and tooth decay, while others are more prone to issues with their gums. To have a sturdy smile that lasts a lifetime, your teeth, roots, and your gums must all be protected.

However, for a lot of people, gum recession happens so slowly they don’t even notice. As your gums slowly pull away from the root, patients often feel more tooth sensitivity, but that is only the beginning. Over time, gum loss can lead to bone loss, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults over the age of 35.

To help your gums grow and reattach, we sometimes recommend gingival grafting, also known as gum grafting. We know it sounds a little scary, but this procedure is quick and straightforward. Dr. Bill and Dr. Jonathan at keith + associates are experienced gum grafting professionals and are here to make sure you’re safe and comfortable throughout the entire process.

What is gum grafting?

Gum grafting, or gingival grafting, is a simple surgical procedure that can correct receding gums and other painful or deteriorative gum-related issues. Much like a skin graft is used to cover an injured part of your skin, a gum graft fills in missing or thin areas of your gums. Traditionally, gum grafts were performed using donated tissue from another person or area of your mouth, however, you’ll be relieved to know that isn’t the case at our practice!

Instead, we use an allograft product called Alloderm, a technology popular in plastic surgery, that allows us to perform grafts without harvesting tissue from a donor.

This procedure is routine, quick, and performed under local anesthetic.

Benefits of gingival grafting

From pain relief and cosmetic improvements to tooth decay and loss prevention, there are several reasons your dentist could recommend a gum grafting procedure.

Protection from decay

Gum grafting has a high success rate. With proper care and upkeep, this procedure can keep your gums from further recession and protect your exposed roots from further harm.

Decreased dental sensitivity

For many folks, one of the first signs of gum recession is tooth sensitivity. Once your gum graft has healed, it helps insulate your roots from hot or cold food and beverages to lessen sensitivity and keep pain at bay.

Smile restoration

Gum recession can occur around visible front teeth, which causes them to appear tall or elongated. For a lot of folks, this can cause a serious blow to their confidence. Gum grafting can quickly restore your original gum line to give you a more confident smile.

Connective tissue gum grafting

A dentist will go over the different gingival grafting options available and assess what is best for you and your needs. The three most common procedures are free gingival grafts, connective tissue grafts, and pedicle grafts. Since grafts at our office do not typically require donor tissue from the patient’s mouth, our grafting options are simplified.

In a connective tissue graft, we use a small, dehydrated piece of tissue called Alloderm. This procedure only takes a few minutes and involves us simply stitching the grafting tissue to the area in need of additional gum tissue.

Gum grafting procedure

Initial consultation

A dentist will perform a deep cleaning procedure and comprehensive oral assessment for gum disease and evaluate surrounding bones’ health. If your dentist sees the need for a gum grafting procedure, you will have time to discuss your options, why it is necessary, and what to expect before scheduling the appointment.

On the day of the procedure

If you opt for moderate IV sedation to manage anxiety during your procedure, you’ll be required to fast for 6 hours prior to treatment and secure a ride home. Regarding aftercare, patients will want to avoid brushing the grafted tissue and surrounding areas after their appointment. Softer foods are recommended for the first few days following the procedure until a patient is comfortable enough to try solid foods again.

Your doctor will provide additional aftercare information and advice tailored to the patient’s individual needs, habits, and comfort. While complications are infrequent with this type of procedure, there is a possibility of infection, uneven healing, loose sutures, and swelling. Therefore, it’s important to follow your doctor’s directions precisely and closely monitor your feel in the days following your procedure. Recovery is different for everyone, but at keith + associates, we will be here to guide you towards easy healing.

How much does gum grafting cost?

Depending on a patient’s individual needs and the severity of potential issues, gingival grafts can vary in price. However, many procedures are covered or partially covered under dental insurance. For a cosmetic procedure or one not covered by your insurance, each area costs approximately $1,200.  However, with insurance coverage, there is possibly little to no cost involved. If your dentist recommends a gum grafting procedure, our benefits and billing associates can help you determine your best path to payment.

Get started with gum grafting

If you are concerned about receding gums, gingivitis, or other oral health issues, the experienced team at Keith + Associates is here to help. Our resident gum grafting experts, Dr. Bill and Dr. Jonathan, an addition to the rest of our experienced staff are here to make your journey towards a better smile simple and transparent. Give us a call at 913-384-0044 or book an appointment online to get started on your journey towards healthy teeth and gums.