Tag Archives: Donor Tissue

Gum Graft Donor Tissue Care & Recovery by San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you have severe gum recession, you may need gum graft surgery to correct the problem and restore your oral health. Gum graft surgery restores your natural gum line by delicately suturing new tissue into place to cover root surfaces of your teeth that have been exposed. The sutures help keep the new tissue in place while it integrates with your existing tissue. The new tissue can come from your own body or from a tissue donor. When a large section of gums have receded, donor tissue is usually the best option. And although it does not involve a separate incision site for harvesting tissue, using donor tissue does still involve a recovery period. Here’s what you need to know. 

Gum graft donor tissue care and recovery

Gum graft surgery is common, but if you’re unfamiliar with it, it may seem intimidating.  Sometimes, knowing what to expect post-surgery helps make the recovery process a little bit easier. Below, we’ve provided a brief general outline of recovery after gum graft surgery. Your periodontist will provide you with a more specific set of instructions at the time of your surgery. 

Healing timeline and postoperative instructions

It’s usually best to relax for the rest of the day after your gum graft procedure, and maybe the following day as well. Use an ice pack wrapped in cloth or a cold compress against the cheek to control swelling for the first 24 hours. Most people are able to return to work within a couple of days, though it’s important to refrain from physical exertion of any kind for at least 48 hours post-procedure.  The grafting site will be tender for a few days, and sensitive to hot and cold for a week or two. Over-the-counter pain medications should provide sufficient relief. 

Typically, it takes around two weeks to heal from gum graft surgery, and during that time, it’s important to follow all post-operative instructions given to you by your periodontist in order to avoid complications. Post-operative instructions may include the following:

  • Eat soft foods, including soft fruits, eggs, yogurt, very softened vegetables and lukewarm soups 
  • Avoid hot foods, hard foods, crunchy foods, sticky foods
  • Avoid drinking with a straw 
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol until completely healed
  • Stay away from tobacco products
  • Do not brush or floss around the gum graft area until it has completely healed
  • Use the special antimicrobial mouthwash provided for you
  • Take antibiotics or pain medications as prescribed
  • Attend follow-up appointments with your periodontist

Healthy gums make radiant smiles. After you’ve healed and your smile has been restored, it’s important to make sure that you practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly in order to ensure that your gums and teeth remain healthy. 

Gum graft surgery at San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry

One of the keys to a successful gum graft procedure is choosing the right periodontist to perform it. At San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, you’re in the hands of Dr. Kennie Kwok, one of San Diego’s top periodontists. Dr. Kwok is highly skilled and has extensive experience in periodontal procedures of all kinds, including gum graft surgery. For more information about Dr. Kwok, his practice, or any of the services he provides, call San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at (619) 543-0905 today.  

San Diego Gum Graft Donor Tissue Vs Own Tissue for Gum Recession

Receding gums is not just an aesthetic issue. When the gum line starts to pull back from the teeth, it can lead to increased sensitivity and other oral health issues down the line, including periodontal disease and tooth loss. 

Gum grafts are an excellent way to regenerate lost gum tissue and restore your healthy smile, and you have the option to use your own soft tissue or donor tissue as the graft material. Each option has different advantages and drawbacks, and the ultimate decision will be based on your individual situation. Here’s a brief guide on the options available: 

Types of patient tissue grafts

If you choose to use soft tissue from your own mouth (called an autograft), you’ll have the option of a connective tissue graft or a free gingival graft. Both graft types involve taking tissue from the roof of your mouth and attaching it to the exposed tooth root where gums are receding, but in slightly different ways. 

During a connective tissue graft, the dentist will open a little flap, or “trap door,” in order to remove a small piece from the layer of connective tissue underneath. Connective tissue grafts are less invasive than free gingival grafts and tend to have a more aesthetic result, as the tissue will seamlessly blend into the surrounding gums. 

A free gingival graft doesn’t require making a flap—instead, the dentist will harvest the outer and inner layers of tissue from the roof of the mouth before using it to cover the exposed tooth root. Free gingival grafts are ideal for areas of gum recession that need to be thickened or reinforced with stronger gum tissue, although the color matching may be a little more noticeable than with connective tissue grafts.

Types of donor tissue grafts

The main advantage of using donor tissue for gum grafts is there’s no limit in how many areas can be treated at once. Autografts, on the other hand, can only address a few areas at a time due to the invasive nature of tissue harvesting. The two types of donor grafts available are allografts and xenografts.

Allograft tissue, which refers to tissue from the same species, is harvested from cadaver skin that has been sterilized to remove all living cells, proteins, viruses, and bacteria. Following the gum graft procedure, the donor tissue will blend well with your own gums.

Xenograft tissue, which refers to tissue from another species, is harvested from either bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) skin, and sterilized similarly to allograft tissue. This donor tissue will also blend well with your own gum tissue. 

Autografts vs. donor grafts 

There is no inherent superiority among types of gum graft material. Your individual situation will dictate which option is best for you. But there are clear pros and cons to each:

Autograft pros:

  • Provides predictable results – proven long term studies 
  • All natural from your own self gum tissue
  • Increases gum thickness
  • Two sources of blood supply available, one from the flap and one from the recipient bed

Autograft cons:

  • More discomfort following the surgery due to a second surgical site 
  • Can only address a few areas of gum recession per procedure
  • Tissue integrity varies based on the harvest location and harvest quality

Donor graft pros:

  • Can be used to treat an entire arch or mouth of receding gums in one procedure
  • Less pain and discomfort due to no harvest site within the mouth
  • Can grow a large amount of strong gum tissue
  • Preserves existing gum tissue and blood supply

Donor graft cons:

  • Need adequate quality gum tissue to start with
  • Do not work as well with teeth that are inclined, rotated, or feature bone loss
  • More technique-sensitive, requiring significant training

Gum grafts at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you have receding gums that are affecting your smile, oral health, and ability to eat your favorite foods, San Diego Periodontics & Implant Surgery can help. We can answer all your questions about Gum Recession using your own tissue or donor tissue, and help you make the best decision for your individual needs. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at (619) 543-0905.