Gum Grafting FAQ

Gum recession is a common concern that can impact both the aesthetics and health of your smile. If you find yourself pondering questions about gum grafting, Dr. Dan Thousand and Dr. Katelyn Fleming are here to provide you with insights and clarity, guiding you toward making informed decisions about your oral health.

Why Am I Having Recession Problems?

Gum recession often arises due to a variety of factors, including lifelong aggressive brushing, genetics for thin tissue and/or bone quality and quantity, tooth grinding known as bruxism, gum disease, frenal pulls and even tooth misalignment too far outside of the jawbone. As the gum tissue recedes away from the tooth, it exposes the root, leading to sensitivity, cavities and potential aesthetic concerns.

Will I Need Gum Grafting?

Not necessarily. If your gum recession is severe, causing discomfort, sensitivity or impacting the appearance of your smile, gum grafting may be recommended. If you have insufficient thickness of gum tissue to where you will continue to have recession and future problems with your teeth gum grafting may be recommended. If your recession is related to poor bite or grinding, braces or a night guard may be recommended. Our periodontists will assess the extent of your recession and guide you toward the most suitable treatment plan.

Will Gum Grafting Surgery Hurt?

Gum grafting surgery is performed under local anesthesia, ensuring minimal discomfort during the procedure. Depending on the type and amount of gum grafting completed, as well as the type of graft (you own vs donor tissue), pain can range from mild to moderate. Most of our patients tell us that on a scale of one to 10, the discomfort is roughly a four or five for about five days. We manage post-surgery discomfort in multiple ways. The first is through a platelet rich fibrin clot placed into the donor site immediately after surgery. The second is through a customized palatal stent that protects the roof of your mouth throughout the healing process. The third is with prescription strength non-narcotic anti-inflammatory medication. In rare cases if the pain is too much, we can prescribe something stronger. However, this does not happen often as long as post-operative instructions are followed. We will provide specific post-operative instructions for a smooth recovery via a written sheet that can also be found here.

What If I Do Not Treat My Gum Recession?

Neglecting gum recession can lead to further complications, including heightened tooth sensitivity, root decay and an increased risk of gum disease. Additionally, untreated recession can affect the aesthetics of your smile, impacting your self-confidence. If left over time, the recession will typically spread to the adjacent teeth and eventually lead to enough bone loss where the tooth or teeth will need to be removed. The problem with leaving recession until the teeth are lost is that once this level of destruction has occurred, replacement options become limited without the use of soft tissue and bone grafting. In some cases, replacement options are limited to only removable prosthetics.

What Is Pinhole® Surgery, and Is It Better Than Gum Grafting?

Pinhole surgery, also known as the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST), is a procedure that involves making tiny incisions to loosen gum tissue and reposition it over the exposed root. No graft is used, which is why it is typically less uncomfortable after surgery. This technique can work in certain scenarios, but for most cases it does not address the true issue where recession is present because the patient does not have enough thick gum tissue. Our periodontists and team have seen countless instances of recession recur shortly after techniques that do not utilize graft material because these procedures have not addressed the patient’s true problem. In most gum grafting situations, Dr. Thousand and Dr. Fleming will use a technique almost identical to pinhole to reposition the gum tissue, however, they will also address the real problem by increasing the amount of gum tissue present at the same time. This allows for the best of both worlds in which the surgery is not extremely uncomfortable, but results are long lasting.

At Periodontal Associates, we offer comprehensive expertise in the field of gum health. Our commitment to your well-being ensures that your journey to optimal gum health is personalized and effective. To explore your options for gum grafting in Centennial, Colorado, and embark on a path toward healthier gums and a radiant smile, reach out to us by calling 303-795-5700.