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What Happens During Gum Graft Treatment?

If your teeth look longer than they once did, it’s not because they’re growing. It’s because your gums are receding.

What makes gums recede? Brushing your teeth too hard, wearing braces, having periodontal disease, and suffering direct trauma are the top culprits, but genetics also play a role. 

Whatever the cause, treatment is necessary, because receding gums lead to bone loss, tooth loss, and a long list of other complications.

Fortunately, Dr. Caesar Sweidan and Dr. Laura Smith, our board-certified periodontists at St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants in Covington and Slidell, Louisiana, can fix your receding gums with gum graft treatment. Here’s what you can expect from this restorative procedure. 

What happens during gum graft treatment?

During gum graft treatment, we take gum tissue from one part of your mouth (usually the roof) and move it to the area affected by recession. There are three main types of gum grafts:

Free gingival graft

This is the simplest type of gum graft. We remove a small piece of tissue from the roof of your mouth and attach it to the area where your gums are receding.

Connective tissue graft

In this procedure, we lift a flap of skin at the roof of your mouth, remove tissue from beneath the flap, and then attach it to the gum tissue around the exposed root.

Pedicle graft

Instead of taking tissue from the palate, we graft tissue from the gum around or near the tooth that needs treatment.

The type of graft you get depends on your specific needs. Drs. Sweidan and Smith guide you through your options and explain which procedure they recommend and why.

We use a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable and offer sedation if you need to relax. 

The procedure only takes about an hour unless multiple sites need grafting. After the local anesthetic wears off, you may feel sore and may notice minor bleeding for two or three days. Eat soft foods while your gums heal. 

After the first week, you can resume normal activities, and we let you know when it’s safe to brush and floss the treated area regularly. 

How to care for your gums after gum graft treatment

We give you detailed aftercare instructions that you must follow. We customize your instructions to address your specific needs. For example, you might need to use a special mouth rinse to prevent infection, take an antibiotic, and stick to soft foods for a week or two.

Don’t floss or brush at the graft site until it’s completely healed. We also schedule regular checkups to see how you’re healing and ensure the graft is successful.

Regular follow-up appointments are vital to track your recovery, deal with complications quickly, and ensure your gum graft is a long-term success. Our team also gives you personalized advice on how to stop future gum recession.

To learn more about gum recession and gum grafting surgery, call us at St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants today.

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