A gum graft (also known as a gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery), is a collective name for surgical periodontal procedures that aim to cover an exposed tooth root surface with grafted oral tissue.

Exposed tooth roots are usually the result of gingival recession due to periodontal disease. There are other common causes, including overly aggressive brushing and trauma.

Here are some of the most common types of gum grafting:
  • Free gingival graft – This procedure is often used to thicken gum tissue. A layer of tissue is removed from the palate and relocated to the area affected by gum recession. Both sites will quickly heal without permanent damage.
  • Subepithelial connective tissue graft – This procedure is commonly used to cover exposed roots. The tissue is removed fairly painlessly from the outer layer of the palate and relocated to the site of gum recession.
  • Acellular dermal matrix allograft – This procedure uses medically processed, donated human tissue as a tissue source for the graft. The advantage of this is procedure is that there is no need for a donor site from the patient’s palate (and thus, less pain).
  • Platelet-rich-plasma graft – This procedure takes platelets from the plasma of your blood and uses it to heal your gums. The advantage of this type of grafting is that, because it uses your own blood, it is safer, more convenient, and faster than other grafting methods.

REASONS FOR GUM GRAFTING

Gum grafting is a common periodontal procedure. Though the name might sound frightening, the procedure is commonly performed with excellent results.

Here are some of the major benefits associated with gum grafting:
  • Reduced sensitivity – When the tooth root becomes exposed, eating or drinking hot or cold foods can cause extreme sensitivity to the teeth. Gum grafting surgery permanently covers the exposed root, helps reduce discomfort, and restores the good health of the gums.
  • Improved appearance – Periodontal disease is characterized by gum recession and inflammation. Gum recession and root exposure can make the teeth look longer than normal and the smile to appear “toothy.” Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter, more symmetrical and generally more pleasing to look at. In addition, adjacent tissue can be enhanced and augmented during the procedure for aesthetic purposes.
  • Improved gum health – Periodontal disease can progress and destroy gum tissue very rapidly. If left untreated, a large amount of gum tissue can be lost in a short period of time. Gum grafting can help halt tissue and bone loss; preventing further problems and protecting exposed roots from further decay.

WHAT DOES GUM GRAFTING TREATMENT INVOLVE?

Once the need for gum grafting surgery has been determined, there are several treatments the dentist will want to perform before gum grafting takes place. First, the teeth must be thoroughly cleaned supra and subgingivally to remove calculus (tartar) and bacteria. The dentist can also provide literature, advice and educational tools to increase the effectiveness of home care and help reduce the susceptibility of periodontal disease in the future.

The gum grafting procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic. The exact procedure will depend much on whether the tissue is coming from the patient’s palate or a tissue bank.

Initially, small incisions will be made at the recipient site to create a small pocket to accommodate the graft. Then a split thickness incision is made and the connective tissue graft is inserted into the space between the two sections of tissue. The graft is usually slightly larger than the recession area, so some excess will be apparent.

Sutures are often placed to further stabilize the graft and to prevent any shifting from the designated site. Surgical material is used to protect the surgical area during the first week of healing. Uniformity and healing of the gums will be achieved in approximately six weeks.

If you have any questions about gum grafting, please ask your Dr. Wassenaar.

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Covid-19 (Corona) Virus

Dear valued patients of Williams Lake Smiles,

Greetings to patients and friends of Williams Lake Smiles!

June is here and hopefully, more summer weather is headed our way!

We are feeling excited and optimistic about the months to come as it appears that there is some positive easing of restrictions in British Columbia. Our team hopes this means that you will be able to slowly begin to see loved ones and move around a little bit more. Good news for us all!

In our office, your health and safety is still our utmost concern so we would like to update you and review our current protocols.

We are happy to be able to move from our online covid pre-screening forms to a verbal questionnaire. This means that you will no longer be required to do the online covid form before every appointment.
For the continued health and safety of all, we ask that you do not attend our office if you feel unwell at all or have traveled outside of the country within the past 14 days. We will ask you covid screening questions on the phone, at the time of scheduling appointments, and then again at the time of your arrival in our office. Mask wear is still mandatory for anyone entering our office. Your temperature will still be taken, shoe coverings provided and we will have you use hand sanitizer upon check-in at the door.

We will still be doing all we can to limit the amount of people in the office at one time and who you come into contact with while you are here.
We ask that you do not arrive too far ahead or drop off family members early for scheduled appointments. If our waiting room is full, we may ask you to remain in your vehicle and we can call you in as soon as we are ready. Please do not bring any extra people with you into the office. No spouses, children or siblings can accompany you to your appointment in the office.
We will continue with all other enhanced safety protocols to ensure that the health of our patients and staff team are our first priority and allow us to continue to provide you with our full range of exceptional dental care.

The Williams Lake Smiles team thanks to our amazing patients and friends for their ongoing patience and support through these unprecedented times of the past year and moving forward.
We appreciate your trust in us to help you be the healthiest you can be!

Please contact us with any questions or to schedule any of your dental needs.

Sincerely,

Dr. Rudy Wassenaar and the team at Williams Lake Smiles


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