Gum recession is one of the most noticeable results of periodontal disease (gum disease) and is the movement of the gum line down the root of a tooth. Recession can be limited to one tooth or many and symptoms vary from none at all to root sensitivity, inflammation of the tissues, root exposure, cavities, or esthetic concerns. It's important to have gum recession repaired because gum tissue is the primary barrier to bacteria. Without adequate gum tissue around the teeth, bacteria can cause gum disease, bone and gum deterioration, and even tooth loss.
Those who feel their teeth are too large or who are embarrassed by the amount of tooth showing can also benefit from gum grafting procedures. Gum grafting can also be used to lower the gum line to a more attractive level. Doing so will reduce the amount of tooth shown and increase the overall health of the teeth and gums.
Connective-tissue grafts are the most common form of gum grafts. They are used to treat root exposure around one or more teeth. During the procedure, the dentist will cut a flap of skin from the roof of your mouth and remove tissue from under the flap. The flap is then stitched back down. The removed tissue will then be attached to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. Over time the attached tissue will grow together with the gum tissue already there forming a higher gum line around the tooth.
After the procedure you will be able to go home. However, if you were given a sedative to relax you will need a friend or family member to drive you. Be sure to follow all instructions your doctor gives you for post-operative care. Do not floss or brush the gum line that was treated until the area has healed. A special mouthwash will be given to you that will help control plaque during this time.
For about a week after the gum grafting procedure your diet will be limited to soft foods such as eggs, pasta, Jell-O, and yogurt. Pain varies from patient to patient and depends on many variables including pain tolerance and the type of gum graft performed. Your doctor will likely recommend an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or, in rare cases, a prescription pain medication. Many patients are able to return to work within a day or two.