If you have gum disease (periodontal disease) for a prolonged period of time, bacteria can begin to build pockets between your teeth and gums, which can cause your gum tissue to recede. This, then, can expose portions of your teeth that had been protected by your gums.
When it comes to treating this condition, there are two goals. The first is to eliminate the bacterial infection, and the second is to restore the gum protection your teeth lost, which is usually done through gum graft surgery.
Depending on the case, our providers at Gables Sedation Dentistry in Miami offer both traditional gum grafting surgery and LANAP® surgery, which is a blade-free treatment. In this blog, our providers explain what to expect before, during, and after gum graft surgery.
Before recommending treatment, your provider will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums. If you have the early stages of gum disease, which is called gingivitis, your provider may recommend more conservative measures, such as consistently practicing good oral hygiene, getting professional cleanings, or undergoing scaling and root planing.
However, if you have advanced stages of gum disease, which is called periodontitis, your provider may recommend gum graft surgery. Furthermore, there are other reasons why your provider may recommend gum graft surgery. For example, you may have lost gum tissue due to aging or because of a genetic trait.
There are a number of variables when it comes to gum graft surgery, including where the gum tissue is derived and how it’s attached to the existing gum tissue. Here’s how traditional gum graft surgery and LANAP surgery are usually performed:
First, you’re sedated or given local anesthetic for comfort. Then, your provider makes incisions in your gums to create flaps, which aids in removing the bacteria and cleaning the roots of your teeth. Then your provider removes graft tissue from the roof of your mouth. Then your provider closes the flaps and reinforces your gums with the graft tissue.
How long your treatment takes will depend on the number of teeth you’re treating. A single tooth may take about one hour, while multiple grafts may add additional time.
LANAP treatment isn’t a gum graft in the traditional sense, since there’s usually no need to harvest tissue. With this procedure, the laser removes the diseased tissue from the periodontal pocket. Then the tartar on the tooth is removed. Then the laser removes any remaining diseased tissue.
This process also sterilizes the area and spurs the body to form new fibers to attach the gum tissue to the tooth. Since the laser removes less tissue at the gum line, this reduces the need to get tissue from elsewhere to reinforce the gums. With LANAP surgery, recovery and healing times are usually shorter, and the antibacterial properties of the laser light are often able to produce better long-term results.
While both techniques can effectively treat receding gums, the procedure your provider recommends will depend on the specifics of your case.
Conventional gum graft surgery usually has some soreness associated with it after the anesthetic wears off, but this can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. Your provider will give you specifics on how to care for your mouth. Furthermore, you’ll come back for a follow-up visit about one week after your procedure to make sure everything is progressing well.
Recovery from LANAP surgery is usually quicker and less painful, since there’s less tissue disruption. But again, your provider will discuss the specifics of your oral care and follow-up care.
Do you need gum graft surgery, or do you want to see if you need treatment for gum disease, we can help. To learn more, call 305-518-1822 or book an appointment online with Gables Sedation Dentistry today.