Receding gums can be a source of embarrassment for you if you have them, but they needn’t be.
With the introduction of gingival graft surgery or gum grafting surgery, there’s now a way to get back the smile you loved, and prevent further oral issues.
What’s involved in gum grafting surgery, though? And what should you expect during your recovery?
We’ve got the information you need, so you can feel confident about your gum grafting surgery.
Let’s dive right in.
Receding gums are when the gums pull back over time and expose the roots of your teeth. This expose leads to an increased risk of tooth decay, and if it’s allowed to continue, you could end up losing your teeth.
Receding gums can happen for many reasons including genetics, poor dental hygiene, over-zealous dental hygiene (overbrushing), and age.
Unlike accidents that need emergency treatment, receding gums can be simply unavoidable, in some cases. So when you’ve got receding gums, what can you do about them?
Enter gum grafting surgery.
Under anesthetic, your dentist will use tissue from the roof of your mouth, or an inconspicuous area nearby. Another option available to use is donor tissue, which means faster recovery for you.
Your dentist will open up the tissue at the exposed part of your tooth, and graft, or attach, the oral tissue to your gums.
This’ll take away the tightness, and give your gums some slack so that they more than adequately cover the root of your tooth, and make your smile great again.
It’s possible that your dentist will advise you to have surgery on several of your teeth. In this instance, bear in mind that post-surgery discomfort and recovery time will be greater.
For this reason, having one tooth grafted at a time can mean an easier process for you. There will be less soreness and faster healing in the long-run.
Of course, several separate procedures will mean that this process could run on for some time.
Always speak to your dentist, who can advise you on the best choice based on your situation.
You’ll have probably heard stories of how painful gum grafting surgery is, but don’t let it put you off. It’s not really true.
While some individuals are more sensitive to surgery than others, there are many ways you can help your body to recover, and reduce the pain.
You should fully recover from your surgery in just 2 weeks. Follow our 10 tips below, and recovery should be a breeze.
Your dentist will likely give you antibiotics to take home, as a preventative measure.
Follow the instructions and finish the course to avoid infection after your surgery.
If you opted for using your own tissue, the roof of your mouth will need to heal.
If you haven’t been offered one already, ask your dentist for a stent. A stent will protect your palate as it heals. It’ll minimise bleeding, and keep the area clear until the stitches are removed.
A stent also prevents food from getting at the site of the wound, which reduces pain and speeds up the healing process.
Ice packs are your friends.
Your face may swell at the site of your surgery, and you may experience bruising. Ice therapy is a great help. Use ice packs to minimize swelling and ease discomfort.
Start using them as soon as you leave the dentist, for maximum effect. Then, use them repeatedly on and off again, every 20 minutes throughout the day.
As your body begins the healing process, the site of your graft will swell even more, so icing the area will help you out a lot.
If you’ve been using ice, likely your pain will be pretty manageable by now. But if you need a little extra help, then use some over-the-counter medication.
A lot of people describe the pain you feel on the roof of your mouth as being like a strong pizza-burn.
You shouldn’t really need anything stronger, but speak to your dentist if you’re concerned.
Following your procedure on the day of your surgery, you’ll want to avoid drinking anything hot or cold.
Hot and cold foods can aggravate the site of your wound, and cause swelling.
Instead, try things that are a more neutral in temperature, for the least discomfort. It’s not exciting, but your mouth will thank you for it.
Were you ever the kid with braces? If so, you’ll probably remember how painful it was that first day they went in, and then every time they were adjusted.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to make the same sacrifice initially, after your gum grafting surgery. Like the kid with braces, though, you’ll probably welcome anything that won’t hurt your teeth.
Soups and stews are a good option; if you can drink it through a straw, initially, even better.
When you feel able, you can progress to eating softer, mushy foods.
Things like mashed potato, bananas, oatmeal, avocados, and eggs are all good, soft foods that’ll avoid further irritation at the treatment site.
Cut back on anything spicy or highly flavored. It’s boring, we know but, again, these things can aggravate the surgical site.
You’ll probably have to keep this up for at least a week, and possibly longer, depending on how long it takes your gums and palate to heal.
If you opted for a stent, you might want to wear it while eating, to make the experience more comfortable.
You’ll still need to brush your teeth! But don’t brush the site of your gum grafting surgery. You can gently pass the brush over the tops of your teeth, but avoid contact with the graft site.
Also, don’t floss for a couple of weeks, or until your mouth is healed.
Your dentist will probably give you a special mouthwash to take home, so make sure you use this regularly to keep as clean a mouth as possible.
This is one of those times where it’s doctor’s orders to keep it light. No strenuous exercise for 2 weeks after your surgery, okay?
This one goes hand in hand with tip number 9, but you really do need to rest after your surgery. No planning to be back in the office the next day, or out with your friends.
Your body heals when it’s at rest, so have plenty of it, and sleep when you can. It’ll speed up your recovery, so you can be back doing the things you love in no time.
To take charge of your receding gums and prevent tooth loss, you’ll probably need gum grafting surgery at some point.
While not many jump for joy at the thought of a surgical procedure, your graft doesn’t need to be a pain.
Keep in mind our 10 tips as you recover from your surgery, and you’ll be smiling again in no time.
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