Receding gums are treated through a procedure known as gum recession coverage, or a gum graft. This involves a transplant of the soft tissue from the palate (donor site) to the receded part of the gums (recipient site).
A gum graft is needed if there is continuous gum recession despite changes in oral hygiene methods. Sometimes you may already be using the softest toothbrush and yet, the recession continues. It may be due to the fact that there is so much recession, only the soft gums are left. The soft gums can be flappy and trap food, leading to inflammation that leads to a vicious cycle of continuous gum recession. Tooth recession coverage is also needed when being “long in the tooth” poses an esthetic problem.
A gum graft may be done to stop the receding gums from continuing. It may also be done to reverse the process in the anterior esthetic region. Depending on the patient, we may be able to reverse the gum recession such it goes back to its original healthy state.
We start by giving local anaesthesia to the area with receding gums. The gums are gently teased away to expose the gum bed. We then go to the roof of the mouth to harvest some donor tissue. These gums are then transplanted to the recipient site and stitched on securely. The palate is an endless source of donor tissue!
It is recommended that you restrict activities and rest the day of and the day after surgery. Typically, patients return to work, school, etc the following day. For approximately 2 weeks, it is in your best interest to not participate in any physical activity, to not touch the area of the graft, and to not to pull your lip down to look at the area.
You may experience some discomfort when the local anaesthetic wears off. Depending on the procedure, you may be provided with a prescription to deal with post-operative discomfort. Take all medications with a full glass of water to avoid stomach pain & cramps. Take medications as prescribed. This will help in your comfort, aid in healing, and help your surgery to be successful.
Important: Do not combine alcohol, tranquillizers, or sleeping pills with medication(s).
In some cases swelling may occur and increase over the first few days. This is a normal response. To control swelling, on the day of surgery, an ice pack can be applied gently to the face on the side of surgery (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off). This is most effective if used immediately following surgery. The day after surgery, a warm moist cloth or heating pad may be applied to the area to control swelling (again 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off).
Some oozing from the roof of your mouth is normal for the first twenty-four (24) hours after surgery. If slight bleeding is noted, apply moderate pressure with gauze to the area for 20 minutes. If this does not work try a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. If bleeding can not be controlled, call the office at 85889868
Eating should be avoided immediately after surgery. Hot, spicy, hard, brittle or abrasive foods should be avoided. Please do not chew on the side where you surgery was performed. A balanced diet is always desirable, but especially so when your body is undergoing any healing process. Soft foods such as eggs, milk (milkshakes), soup (warm not hot), are recommended for the first few days following surgery. Avoid the use of a straw.
Do not brush your teeth in the area where surgery was performed. Brush your other teeth as normal. If Eludril Rinse has been prescribed, begin rinsing on the day of the surgery. Rinse twice a day for two weeks.
Following surgery your body will begin to heal by forming a clot. This clot must stay in place during healing. Therefore we request that you refrain from spitting, smoking, or sucking through a straw. These activities can dislodge the clot and cause bleeding.