Gum Grafts | Kiwi Dental
Contact Us

What is a gum graft?

Soft tissue grafting is the process of applying a new layer of gingiva over the area that has receded. Like a skin graft that would be used on burn victims, the new tissues are harvested and moved to the location where they are needed. This protects the area underneath and also affects the overall appearance of the teeth.

Have you ever looked into the mirror and noticed that certain teeth are starting to look “longer” than they used to be? Almost as if the tooth is protruding/erupting out of the gums more than it was a few years ago? It turns out that it’s not a problem with your tooth, but actually your gum tissue (gingiva) around it. We call this condition, “gum recession.”

As gums recede, they leave the root surfaces of teeth exposed. This can lead to a number of concerns such as:
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Root surface cavities
  • Tooth mobility
  • Bone loss (recession)
  • Aesthetic concerns
  • Loss of coverage for dental implants

Although these concerns may not seem severe at first, untreated gum loss can ultimately result in a gradual deterioration of your overall oral health and potentially lead to loss of the affected teeth. Root surfaces are much weaker and susceptible to infection than the strong enamel that makes up the portion of the tooth that extends above the gum line (the crowns).

Do I Need a Gum Graft?

When you schedule your AlloDerm® graft consultation at Kiwi Dental, Dr. Nourian will meet with you to discuss what factors may be contributing to your gum recession and/or causing the problems you’re experiencing.

Before placing a graft, it’s important to understand why the gum recession is occurring and take steps to address that issue before scheduling the surgery. For instance, if active periodontal disease is a concern, we will need to complete soft tissue therapy and cleanings before it’s safe to move forward with a graft. Or if aggressive tooth brushing is to blame, we will talk about ways to use lighter pressure and a soft or extra-soft bristle brush. Once we’ve halted the cause of the gum recession, we can move forward with the graft. After all, gum tissues won’t grow back on their own!

Learn more about soft tissue grafting and if it can improve your smile’s health or appearance. Contact Kiwi Dental in Oakville, today to schedule a consultation.

Causes of Gum Recession

A receding gum line is not always noticeable at first. Dental habits such as grinding your teeth, aggressive brushing, or excessive use of alcohol-based mouthwashes can gradually chip away at your gums over time. A receding gum line can be the result of several different factors. Some of the most common include:

Overzealous Toothbrushing

A medium to stiff bristled toothbrush (or even a heavy hand with a soft one) can be traumatic to delicate gum tissues. Over time, the gingiva gradually creeps away from the harsh scrubbing back and forth.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is an infection that destroys the ligaments that connect your teeth to the gums and bone around them. When untreated, the gums slowly shrink away due to bacterial colonies underneath.

Tooth Misalignment

A tooth that is out of alignment with its partners may result in stretching or pulling of the gingiva, causing it to creep further down the root. “Lip ties” (tension in the labial frenulum that connects the anterior portion of the tongue to the floor of the mouth) are known to cause the same problem.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

If stress seems to get to you, grinding your teeth can be a common side effect. As teeth microscopically flex in the mouth, enamel chips away along the gum line, contributing to recession.

Bad Habits

Do you tend to bite your nails or use your teeth as tools? Everyday habits can lead to a cumulative effect on both your gums and teeth.

Tobacco Use

Delicate oral tissues are drastically affected by products such as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Snuff, in particular, can cause severe gum recession in areas where users hold it throughout the day, even if you make a habit to rotate them.

Gum Graft Aftercare

Caring for your surgical site after a gum graft is an important part of how successful it will be. We will provide you with a list of written instructions to follow so that you don’t have to worry about missing something important.

A soft diet is best for the first several days. Avoid anything too hot or hard, as it may injure the surgical site. It’s normal to experience some mild irritation or possible bruising after any surgery. Wait at least two weeks before eating anything with small grains or seeds. We recommend avoiding all tobacco products for as long as possible, as they can delay healing or success of the graft altogether.

A protective dressing may be placed over your graft, reducing your chance of irritating the area or disrupting the graft. Removing your dressing prematurely could dislodge the tissue; keep it in place and we will remove it along with any sutures at a follow-up appointment. Additionally, try not to bump the dressing with your tongue, lips, or during meals.

Some of the most important things to keep in mind are to be gentle when cleaning your teeth, taking care not to brush the area until it has properly healed. You can gently rinse with warm salt water to alleviate any soreness, swelling, and remove food debris. Do not use a toothbrush on or around the dressing unless Dr. Nourian instructs you to. We may also prescribe an antibiotic mouth rinse to limit bacteria inside of your mouth as it heals.

Most healing takes place within the first week, but gradually continues for up to 2-6 months after the procedure. Until fully integrated with your own tissues and new blood vessels, the AlloDerm® graft tissues may appear whiter in color compared to your other gingiva. Within a few weeks, the coral pink hue should extend throughout the entire graft.

What People Are Saying

Kiwi Dental