We all know that brushing keeps our teeth healthy. However, when it comes to taking care of our gums, most people aren’t so careful and often neglect this critical part of oral hygiene. It’s our gums that support our teeth in place. Taking care of them is the best way to ensure our smiles stay beautiful!
When gums are neglected, periodontal disease can set in. When this happens, it’s essential to see a dentist as quickly as possible because you may require a gingival graft.
“When struggling with gum problems, it’s always wise to chat with your Austin periodontist to talk through alternative treatments.”
Periodontal Disease: The Precursor of a Gingival Graft
When gums are damaged, it’s easy for bacteria to build up in our mouths. Periodontal disease stages range from gingivitis, which causes little discomfort so it often goes unnoticed, to tooth loss and bone infection.
Don’t let periodontal disease go unnoticed until it’s too late. The main signs to look out for are:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Teeth feeling loose and wobbly
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to book an appointment with an Austin Periodontist.
What Is a Gingival Graft?
If your gums reach the stage of periodontal disease where infection is likely, most periodontists in Austin will recommend a gingival graft.
A gingival graft, also known as a gum graft, is a procedure in which your periodontist takes connective tissue from another area of your mouth and places it near the damaged gum area.
There are three main types of gum grafts:
- Connective Tissue Graft: The dentist creates a small flap in the roof of the mouth, removing a section of connective tissue and stitching it onto the damaged gum.
- Free Gingival Graft: This procedure also removes some tissue from the roof of the mouth. It’s different because this graft takes tissue from the top of the palate before grafting it onto the thinning gum area.
- Pedicle Graft: The periodontist takes a flap of tissue from near the damaged area and places it over the receding gum.
Patients are given a local anesthetic before all of these procedures. Further sedation can be administered if the patient requires it.
Gingival graft success rates are high as long as patients adhere to the followup and recovery guidelines. The gum graft will heal successfully if the patient takes the prescribed medications and sticks to a soft diet for a couple of weeks.
5 Alternative Treatments to Try Before Getting a Gum Graft
A gum graft is a delicate procedure and requires a strict recovery period in order for it to heal correctly. Although the treatment itself is painless, patients can experience some pain while the gum graft heals
If you’re struggling with gum problems, it’s always wise to chat with your Austin periodontist to talk through alternative treatments. Here are a few you may want to discuss.
- Gum Contouring
If you catch the gum damage early, it may be possible to carry out gum contouring. This type of treatment involves using a scalpel and a laser to reshape the gum line. Tissue will be taken from other areas of the mouth and used to repair the receding gum line.
- Scaling and Root PlaningPlaque and tartar damage more than teeth. These two oral issues also attack gums and can cause periodontal disease to set in.
Your periodontist may use scaling and planing to remove the build-up of plaque and tartar, enabling your gum to heal naturally. This procedure is a more intensive form of dental cleaning that requires scraping below the gum line.With the bacteria, plaque, and tartar gone, the gum will heal closer to the tooth’s surface.
- Pinhole Surgical Technique
This non-invasive procedure uses a needle to make a small pinhole in the gum area. Then, very gently, your periodontist loosens the gum using the pinhole before using a specially designed instrument to reposition the gum back in place next to the tooth. Collagen strips are placed underneath the damaged gum to help strengthen the new tissue.
Unfortunately, periodontal disease can also cause damage to the bone. When this occurs, regenerative procedures can help healthy bone tissue and gums grow back.The periodontist starts by peeling back the damaged gum and removing all bacteria. Tissue stimulating proteins and bone grafts can encourage bone and gum regeneration.
- Oral Hygiene
It’s possible to avoid all of these procedures by having a comprehensive daily oral hygiene routine. Brushing teeth twice a day and regular flossing is the best way to avoid gum grafts.
But surprisingly, some brushing can actually lead to gum damage. Brushing too aggressively causes the gums to loosen. Brushing is good, but be gentle. Use a soft-bristled brush and clean teeth in a circular motion.
- Gum Contouring
Trust the Experts at Central Texas Periodontics
If your gums feel sore or swollen, get them checked out as soon as possible. Central Texas Periodontics specialists have the knowledge and training to help restore your smile. Call us today to set up an appointment!