Having perfectly white teeth is necessary to feel confident in your smile, but your teeth color is just one part of the entire picture. It’s also important for your gums to line up on your teeth properly for a uniform look.
Receding gums can cause your teeth to look excessively large, which can alter the appearance of your smile. The good news is that there are ways to fix receding gums to restore your smile to its former glory.
Here’s everything you need to know about gum grafts, as well as how you can prevent your gums from receding in the first place.
Gum grafts are a type of dental surgery that treats gum recession, which is a condition where the gums pull away from your teeth to expose some of the roots underneath. It causes your teeth to look larger aesthetically, but exposed tooth roots also increase the risk of tooth decay as well as bone loss around the teeth.
Gum grafting is a surgery that replaces some of the lost gums to restore the appearance of your teeth and your overall oral health. This is a procedure conducted by a periodontist, who is someone who specializes in treating disorders of the gums.
Recessed gums are a form of gum disease that happens when the tissue pulls away from a tooth and exposes the roots underneath. Approximately 88% of people affected by gum recession are over the age of 65, making it one of the most common dental conditions.
The symptoms of gum recession are usually visual in that you can see the exposed roots in your mouth. Other warning signs include: pain or discomfort near the gum line, sensitivity to heat, sweets, and cold, sensitivity to brushing and flossing, and sensitivity during dental cleanings.
Gum recession can be caused by a number of reasons, including:
Gums cannot grow back once they are gone, so it is important to take steps to prevent the recession in the first place. If it does happen, gum recession is a procedure that can help restore your gums to their former glory.
A gum graft procedure is a common surgery performed by periodontists. Here is what you can expect from consultation all the way to recovery:
Before you get a gum graft, you’ll need to meet with a periodontist for a consultation to make sure that you actually need this procedure in the first place. They will check the health of your teeth and gums, as well as the pockets around your teeth.
Periodontal pockets are the spaces surrounding the teeth under the gum line, which can become inflamed and filled with bacteria, especially for people with receding gums. Healthy pockets measure between one and three millimeters, but people with gingivitis measure a four-millimeters pocket, while people with periodontal disease have pockets that are five millimeters or higher.
Depending on the severity of your receding gums, your dentist may move forward with the gum graft procedure.
A gum graft involves advanced oral techniques. First, you can expect to be given local anesthesia to numb the teeth and gums in the area where the graft will be placed. Some dentists also offer sedatives, like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and IV sedation. Either way, they will work to ensure that you’re comfortable the entire time.
Next, the periodontist will make an incision to create a small flap in your gums. At this point, they will also give the roots of your teeth a thorough cleaning. The surgeon will then make an incision on the roof of your mouth and take a small piece of tissue.
This small piece of tissue acts as the graft, which is placed over the exposed teeth roots or the area where your gums have receded. Your gum tissue is repositioned, and your periodontist adds sutures to keep the graft in place.
The surgery should take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, but this time can vary depending on the number of teeth that are experiencing recession.
After the surgery takes place, you’ll have some dressing and gauze in your mouth to help stop bleeding. You can usually take the gauze out within an hour. Most sutures will fall out on their own. Otherwise, your surgeon will remove them at your next appointment.
Most patients can go home within the same day, but your surgeon will monitor you until they deem that it’s safe for you to leave. If you were sedated, you’d need someone to drive you home.
As far as recovery from a gum graft procedure, you’ll have routine follow-ups for a few weeks. You’ll experience some bleeding and swelling for the first few days, and you should get lots of rest while also avoiding strenuous activity. You’ll also need to keep your diet limited to soft, cool foods like yogurt, smoothies, ice cream, and pudding.
Even though it might seem counterintuitive, during the first few days, you can’t brush your teeth or floss directly on the gum graft. As you get more comfortable, you can return to regular brushing habits. You can use an antibacterial mouthwash to keep the area of the gum graft safe from harm’s way.
In about 48 hours, the bleeding should subside, and you should be able to start eating more soft foods as you’re comfortable, like pasta, fish, cooked vegetables, and soft fruits. Don’t brush on the gum graft until your surgeon says it’s safe. As far as pain, you might start to notice side effects like bruising or tenderness. You can take prescribed pain medications or over-the-counter pain relievers for the pain.
Swelling and bruising will start to fade within the second week after treatment. Once your surgeon clears you, you can start brushing and flossing like normal while also returning to your usual diet.
Gum grafts are an effective procedure to restore the function and appearance of your gums along the top of your teeth, but the best way to keep your mouth in top shape is to prevent recession in the first place.
You can significantly reduce your risk of gum recession by:
Some people live long, healthy lives normally with gum recession. However, some people might notice tooth sensitivity or a sense of decreased confidence because of the way their teeth look. If either of these is the case, speak with a professional.
The cost of a gum graft depends on how much of the area needs a graft and how many teeth need a graft. The good news is that dental insurance usually covers at least part of the cost. Since it is a surgical procedure meant to prevent disease, some insurance companies will provide coverage for the entire surgery.
However, considering that nearly 50% of the American population doesn’t have dental insurance coverage, it can make it challenging for adults to afford these important procedures. This is especially true for gum grafts, which can range anywhere from $600 to $1,200, depending on variables.
No insurance? Perfect. Flossy is a pay-as-you-go service made specifically for people without insurance. With transparent pricing models, you see the price of your procedure before you get it. Since there are no membership fees, hidden dues, and other frustrating add-ons, the price you see is the price you’ll owe.
You can even book appointments through our smartphone app without any waiting period. That means when you sign up today, you can have access to our network of rigorously vetted dentists right away. Our dentists must have degrees from accredited dental programs, have excellent patient reviews, use advanced technology, and much more.
Not to mention, we can save you up to 50% on common dental treatments, from routine cleanings to advanced procedures like gum grafts. This means you can save hundreds of dollars on the out-of-pocket costs of your gum graft.
There’s no reason to wait any longer to get the care you need. Sign up for your membership and find a dentist local to you to get the smile you’ve been yearning for.
Gum grafts are a great way to help fix gum recession, which occurs when your gums wear away and exposes more of your tooth’s root. This can cause bone loss and lead to cavities in the teeth.
The gum graft procedure is performed by a periodontist, and it comes with a recovery period of about two weeks. You can prevent receding gums by brushing gently and frequently, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and following your dentist’s general recommendations for oral health.
Gum grafts are not necessarily a cheap procedure, ranging upwards of $1,200 depending on multiple factors. Many Americans are without insurance or have poor coverage, but thanks to Flossy now you can get access to high-quality oral care without breaking the bank.
Flossy is a pay-as-you-go dental service that can save you up to 50% on the out-of-pocket costs of every dental visit. Book online with the Flossy App without a waiting period and get started today.