7 Gum Graft Surgery Recovery Tips

A receding gum line can be caused by genetics, aging, long periods of improper brushing, or gum disease. Unfortunately, gum recession is not limited to those with natural teeth; if you have dental implants, All-on-4 implants, or dentures and you’re not religious with your dental hygiene, it can affect you, too.

The fastest and most successful way to combat a receding gum line is gum graft surgery. This procedure can be performed tooth by tooth or in one sitting, based on the advice of your periodontist and your personal schedule. Gum graft surgery is a fairly common and simple procedure that should not keep you off your feet for more than two or three days.

What Is Gum Graft Surgery?

During gum graft surgery, your periodontist takes gum tissue from your palate or another area of your mouth and uses it to cover the root of the exposed teeth, dentures, dental implants, or All-on-4 implants. This can be done for a single tooth or a set of teeth in a day. Gum graft surgery will help alleviate gum and tooth sensitivity as well as have cosmetic benefits such as reducing the “long-in-the-tooth” effect, helping your smile look young and healthy.

There are three types of gum graft surgery:

  • Connective tissue graft. This is the most common procedure. This method involves cutting a flap at the roof of your mouth and removing the tissue just beneath. This tissue is then stitched to the receding areas.
  • Free gingival graft. Similar to the connective tissue graft but used for patients with thinner gums who need additional tissue. With this method, tissue is removed directly from the palate instead of from under a flap.
  • Pedicle graft. During this type of gum graft surgery, tissue is taken from the gums near or around the receding area. A flap is cut from the healthy gums and stretched over the receding gum line, then stitched into place.

Recovery Tips

You can expect your gums to take up to two weeks to heal fully, so during this time it’s crucial that you follow your doctor’s directions. You’ll be able to go home after the procedure, but depending on the type of anesthetic your periodontist uses, you may need to have someone drive you home.

Along with your doctor’s instructions, you’ll want to follow a few or all of these recovery tips.

Use Ice and Pain Medication

Use ice packs and pain medication to manage the swelling and pain caused by the procedure. Ice should be applied in 20-minute intervals for the first 24 hours after your gum graft surgery. Ask your periodontist if over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medication is best for you.

Avoid Talking

Talking can stretch your mouth and jar the gauze loose. For the first 2 to 3 days, avoid speaking unless absolutely necessary.

Do Not Plan Anything for At Least Three Days

You should be able to resume light activity and even return to work after the first 24 hours, but because you’ll be eating less and should avoid talking, it’s best to stay home and off your feet for at least three days if possible.

Avoid Playing with the Dressing

Many of us have a tendency to probe and poke cuts or bruises, especially in our mouths. It’s important that you avoid doing this so the dressing can protect the wound and enable clotting to begin. Let your dressing do its job and then fall off by itself.

If you experience excessive bleeding that does not subside after applying mild pressure for 20 minutes, call you periodontist immediately. Another helpful method is to hold a tea bag to the wound, as the tannic acids in the tea promote clotting.However, do not use this in lieu of notifying your doctor.

Eat Soft Foods

Start with a liquid diet for the first day or two. Try sticking to soups and smoothies or well-blended food at room temperature to avoid heat or cold shock. Cut any non-liquid foods into very small pieces.

Here are some examples of recommended foods:

■ Oatmeal■ Soft tofu
■ Soft fish■ Applesauce
■ Eggs■ Jell-O
■ Yogurt■ Ice cream

Stay away from hard fruits or fruits with small seeds. The seeds can become lodged in the dressing or the wound itself, complicating your recovery. Do not eat toast, chips, cookies, hard or sticky candy, or similar foods.

Be Careful when Brushing

You may brush the side of your mouth away from the procedure site. Avoid brushing the teeth, dentures, dental implants, or All-on-4 implants near the gum graft surgery, especially for the first day or two. You periodontist will provide you with a special rinse for the surgery area that will help to prevent plaque until you’re able to brush the area. This can be used after the initial 24 hours.

Don’t Overexert

For the first week after your gum graft surgery, you’ll want to avoid overexerting yourself. This means keeping your movements to a minimum. Exercise can heighten the effects and probability of swelling, bruising, and bleeding.

If you would like to speak with Implants and Periodontics about gum graft surgery, dentures, dental implants, All-on-4 implants, or the Teeth in a Day procedure, contact us to schedule a consultation.

5 Ways to Relieve Tooth Sensitivity

If you feel pain when eating hot, cold, or acidic foods, or even when breathing cold air, you may have sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity occurs as the protective layer of enamel around your tooth gets thinner or erodes completely, exposing your tooth’s inner layers. Because these layers are not as hard as enamel, you feel the changes in temperature or acidity intensely. As enamel erodes, tooth sensitivity can come and go periodically.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

There are a number of causes of sensitive teeth. Sensitivity can be a symptom of gingivitis (early gum disease) or periodontitis (gum disease) and a receding gum line that exposes the roots of your teeth. Cavities or tooth decay can also expose the roots or tooth nerves, causing extremely acute sensitivity. Other potential causes are excessive brushing or simply genetics.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment with Chandler Periodontics today. We’ll help to determine the cause(s) of your tooth sensitivity and then find a solution.

If you would like to try to relieve the pain on your own before visiting us, try these five helpful tips.

Practice Preventive Care

Overly aggressive or improper brushing can damage or erode the protective layer of tooth enamel. Try switching to a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste made specially for sensitive teeth. You may also want to revisit your brushing technique to make sure you’re doing it correctly. These steps can help to strengthen your enamel and can stave off an emergency dental visit.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Acidic foods quickly weaken tooth enamel. Eating too much of them can wear away the enamel altogether, exposing the dentin, roots, and nerves. Avoid drinking excessive amounts of sugary, carbonated drinks, coffee, and red wine. Also, cut back on eating citrus fruits, vinegary foods, and high-sugar carbs.

When you do eat acidic foods, avoid brushing your teeth for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Because the acids weaken the enamel, brushing immediately after your meal may remove the enamel entirely.

Avoid Grinding Your Teeth

If you grind your teeth at night or during periods of intense concentration, you may be wearing your tooth enamel away unknowingly. If you have unexpected headaches when you wake up or throughout the day, it could be a sign that you’re grinding your teeth. If you grind your teeth at night, try using a mouthguard. If you find you’re doing it during the day, try to relax your jaw with the teeth slightly apart.

Treat Your Receding Gums

As noted earlier, tooth sensitivity can be a symptom of receding gums caused by gum disease. If you’re experiencing sensitive gums and notice that more of the surface of your teeth are exposed, visit your periodontist as soon as possible so the receding gums and sensitivity can be diagnosed and properly treated.

As you’ve seen, tooth enamel can erode easily, putting you at risk of sensitive teeth. If you have dentures, dental implants, or All-on-4 implants and are experiencing tooth sensitivity, this could be a sign of a more serious problem. If you have sensitive teeth or have sensitivity around your dentures, dental implants, or All-on-4 implants, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment.

The Latest Trends In Cosmetic Dentistry

The demand for cosmetic dentistry continues to increase as the cost of dental implants, dental veneers, cosmetic teeth whitening, and other periodontal procedures decreases. New advancements in oral surgery and cosmetic dentistry allow patients more options to achieve their best smile. According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), patients are increasingly using these options to boost their confidence, restore oral health, look and feel younger, and to enhance their appearance.

Along with the decreasing costs, cutting edge developments in aesthetic dentistry are gaining popularity due to their minimally invasive nature. Keeping the patient’s comfort in mind, teeth can now be cleaned, whitened, removed, or capped without causing pain or discomfort. New forms of sedation are now being used when performing implant dentistry procedures such as placing traditional dental implants and All-on-4 dental implants, or when performing the convenient Teeth in a Day procedure.

Here are a few of the latest cosmetic dentistry procedures Chandler Periodontics offers.

Titanium Dental Implants

Dental implants are titanium screws that are surgically placed in your jawbone. The All-on-4 and  Teeth in a Day dental implants are designed to replace the root of your tooth. Once the dental implant is in place, a crown is attached to the dental implant, giving you a natural-looking and functional tooth, and restoring your smile and oral functions.

All-on-4 Dental Implants

In typical implant dentistry, you’d receive a dental implant for each tooth that’s missing or needs replacing. With the All-on-4 procedure, you’ll only need four dental implants on the upper jaw and four on the lower jaw. Your entire smile can be replaced using this simple procedure, and because the titanium dental implants are able to fuse to the jawbone, they can also help prevent future jawbone loss, increase oral health, and help maintain a more youthful facial structure.

Teeth in a Day

You may not need the All-on-4 dental implant procedure to restore your smile. If you only need one or two teeth replaced, another option is Teeth in a Day dental implants. During this procedure, your periodontist places titanium posts in the needed areas and then attaches your custom-made dental implants.

Both the Teeth in a Day and All-on-4 procedures typically take about four hours: two hours to prepare for the implant surgery and two hours for the actual surgery, with your dental implants being attached at the end.

Esthetic Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is used to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures. In many individuals, it is used to counteract a “gummy smile” or a smile where the teeth appear shorter than normal. This procedure can be performed on one tooth or many teeth at once. In many cases, esthetic crown lengthening can be part of the teeth in a day procedure, giving the impression of a brighter and fuller smile almost immediately.

When the esthetic crown lengthening procedure is performed, small incisions are made to separate the teeth from the gums, giving your periodontist access to your tooth roots and underlying bone. Any necessary bone or tissue will be removed before the gums are sutured with small stitches. Because the bone and/or tissue has been removed and the gums repositioned, your teeth will look noticeably longer.

Chandler Periodontics specializes in cosmetic dentistry and offers services including dental implants and sedation dentistry to ensure your visit is as stress free and as painless as possible. Chandler also offers routine dental cleanings and exams as well as advanced periodontal care. We work with our patients to provide financing and payment options tailored to fit most budgets. To find out more, visit our Financing and Insurance page.

If you would like more information on the All-on-4, Teeth in a Day, or esthetic crown lengthening procedures, schedule a consultation with Chandler Periodontics today.