Tag Archives: Soft Tissue Graft

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.  

How Do You Treat an Exposed Tooth Root by San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you don’t have a history of sensitive teeth and you suddenly experience pain or discomfort when eating and drinking certain foods and beverages, you might have an exposed tooth root. Fortunately, there are different treatment options available to restore your natural gum line and allow you to eat and drink without discomfort. Here’s what you need to know about an exposed tooth root and treatment options:

What is an exposed tooth root?

The part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth is only about less than half of the actual tooth—the rest sits below the gumline and anchors the tooth to the jawbone. While the exposed part of the tooth is covered in strong enamel, the root is covered in a connective tissue called cementum, which can quickly decay or wear down if the gum line recedes and the root is exposed to brushing. Once the cementum is worn away, strong sensations such as heat and cold reach the dentin and nerve pulp inside the tooth, causing mild to extreme discomfort. 

What causes an exposed tooth root?

Exposed tooth roots are most commonly caused by receding gums or gum disease, but other factors can contribute as well. Gum disease occurs when bacteria enters the space between your teeth and gums, causing an infection that eventually recedes the bone around the teeth and exposes the roots if not treated. Receding gums can also result from gum disease, or from poor dental habits, genetic predisposition, or the natural aging process.

Other factors that contribute to exposed tooth roots include:

  • Aggressive brushing using a hard or medium bristle toothbrush
  • Tobacco use
  • Bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching)
  • Traumatic mouth injury
  • Misaligned teeth, which are more susceptible to gum recession

What are the symptoms of an exposed tooth root?

Symptoms of an exposed tooth root can vary, and some people have no symptoms at all. The most obvious symptom is sudden increased sensitivity to hot, cold, sour, acidic or sweet foods and beverages. Another clear sign is a longer-looking tooth, which is the result of the gum line receding. Other symptoms include tender or sore gums that bleed when you brush, swelling and pain (sign of an infection), and tooth discoloration, which is a sign of tooth decay.

What are the treatments available for an exposed tooth root?

There are many ways to prevent exposing a tooth root, such as maintaining a good oral health routine and brushing gently with a soft bristle toothbrush, but the best way to treat an already-exposed root is to cover it back up. The most common procedure to achieve this goal is a gum graft, which uses your own gum tissue taken typically from the roof of your mouth or from a donor source. The tissue is placed in the space between your tooth and gums and are sutured together. Once the healing process is complete, your gum line will be restored.

An alternative method to treat an exposed tooth root is through a donor source, such as the Chao pinhole technique in San Diego. Here a small hole is made in your gums, through which a device is inserted to create a space between your receded gums and tooth. Donor collagen material is placed to stabilize the area of gum recession.  Another great donor source option is the Pat Allen tunneling technique. This technique involves going directly between your tooth and receded gums and creating a space to insert a donor collagen graft. Sutures are then used to secure everything in place. The main benefits of using donor tissue over using your own gum tissue are that it’s much less invasive, does not require a second surgical site, and offers better healing. 

Learn more about Gum Graft Donor Tissue Vs Own Tissue for Gum Recession here.

Exposed tooth root treatment at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you have increased sensitivity to eating and drinking certain foods and beverages or you notice any other symptoms of an exposed tooth root, it’s important to seek treatment before it gets worse. San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry specializes in treating receding gums, and our team of experienced professionals can explain all the options available for treatment, including gum grafts.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at (619) 543-0905.