Types of Gum Graft Surgery
There are three main types of gum grafting surgery:
1. Connective Tissue Graft
This is the most common type of gum graft surgery and is mainly performed to treat a tooth with an exposed root. During the procedure, the Periodontist will make an incision in the roof of your mouth, and remove tissue from under the flap created by the incision. This tissue is then used to replace the missing gum tissue around the exposed tooth root by being stitched in place. At Enhance Dental Centre we also offer donated tissue in replacement of the tissue from roof of your mouth. All options will be discussed prior to the treatment.
2. Free Gingival Graft
A free gingival graft is similar to a connective tissue graft, in that the graft tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth. However, in this procedure, rather than creating a flap and removing tissue from beneath the flap, the tissue is directly removed from the roof of the mouth, then stitched in place at the graft site.
3. Pedicle Graft
This procedure is used when the patient has a sufficient amount of healthy gum tissue surrounding the site of the graft. A flap called a pedicle is created, and instead of being completely excised and grafted to the graft site, the tissue is only partially cut, then pulled over the exposed root area and sewn into place.
How Do I Know if I Need Gum Grafting Surgery?
If you’re seeking gum graft surgery for cosmetic purposes, the procedure is considered ‘elective’ as opposed to ‘required’. In this scenario, you would meet with your dentist who would then refer you to Dr. Vahid Pazhoh to discuss the treatment plan.
Otherwise, during a regular visit to the dentist, perhaps for a cleaning or a filling, your dentist will be able to see that a problem is occurring. Diagnostics may include the use of X-rays, manual examination, and the use of other special tools to measure the degree of disease occurring.
Before recommending gum graft surgery, your dentist may prescribe a series of other treatments including deep cleaning, a course of antibiotics, and a regimen of regular at home care.
The above methods sometimes simply aren’t enough to resolve the issue, and this is where gum graft surgery comes into consideration. If your dentist feels that you are a good candidate for gum graft surgery, you will be referred to Dr.Vahid Pazhoh and he will further assess your situation, and together, you will decide on a surgical plan that will include the following:
• Type of graft surgery (see above for the three main types)
• Method of anesthesia (read more about sedation dentistry)
• Pre-and post-op instructions
• Follow-up plan (for checkups, suture removal etc.)
How Much Does Gum Graft Surgery Cost?
The cost of gum grafting surgery will depend on several factors – which tests are required to diagnose your condition, the cost of any prophylactic medications used before, during and after treatment, and the fees of the specialists who actually perform the surgery.
If you have a benefits plan that includes dental, much of the cost may be covered already, and you may only be required to pay a small portion of the final cost of the surgery. Have your dentist or Periodontist submit a treatment plan and ‘pre-determination’ to your benefits provider to find out how much of the procedure will be covered.
What Can I Expect From Gum Grafting Surgery?
On the day of your surgery, your periodontal team (learn more about periodontists) will initiate the anesthesia agreed upon in the treatment plan. This can range from simple freezing, to IV sedation. Once you’re fully anesthetized, the procedure will begin. You should not feel any pain during gum graft surgery, nor will you feel the usual grinding of drills like you would if you were having a filling done. Depending on which method of anesthesia you chose, you may not even remember the procedure at all!
Recovering from gum graft surgery can be somewhat unpleasant, depending on which type of graft surgery was performed, but symptoms can also be managed fairly well. Your Periodontist will send you home with post-operative instructions and it’s imperative that you follow these instructions so as to prevent post-op infection, and help with the healing process. Post-op care may include any of the following:
- Pain medications
- Eating only soft chilled foods
- A recommendation to take a few days off work post-op to allow you to rest
You’ll have several follow-up visits to the dental office so the Periodontist can check the healing progress of the surgical sites, how well the graft is ‘taking’, and remove sutures if necessary.
In general, the success of the surgery will be determined approximately six to eight weeks after the procedure. Rarely is a second gum graft surgery necessary unless complications arise.
What are the Risks of Gum Grafting Surgery?
While complications from gum graft surgery are rare, they can occur. The most common complications include the following:
- Graft failure
- Infection and swelling
- Tooth sensitivity
Always call the Periodontist if you notice signs of infection, severe bleeding, or experience fever and/or chills.
Taking good preventative measures before the surgery can help reduce the risk of complications. If you smoke, quit. If you drink regularly, reduce your use of alcohol. Continue to follow any dental health regimen your dentist or periodontist has recommended as part of your overall dental health treatment plan.
If you require gum grafting surgery in Vancouver or if you are unsure if you do or what it is exactly, please contact our dental clinic in Vancouver for a free consultation. Our periodontists in Vancouver are highly experienced when it comes to gum grafting procedures. Learn more about periodontal related diseases in our periodontal surgery section.