How Long Does A Gum Graft Take
Gum tissue is one of your body’s most important defenses against infection and disease. The gums have an amazing ability to fight bacteria and infections by producing protective compounds called salivary glands or mucus. Saliva serves as a defense mechanism that helps protect your teeth from plaque build up, food particles, and bacteria. However, when fighting off these dangers, the gums also need protection. In fact, your gums may be more prone to damage than your teeth because they are thinner and more sensitive.
Damaged or inflamed gums are much more susceptible to problems like cavities, periodontal diseases, root deformities, tooth loss, and even jaw fractures. As such, if there is any doubt in regards to whether or not you need a gum graft, then make sure to consult with your dentist immediately. Your dentist will provide you with all necessary information regarding the specific condition, treatment options, and possible risks involved with each procedure. If you are suffering from extensive gum disease, your dentist may recommend a full mouth reconstruction or even a bone augmentation — both procedures involve the use of bone material placed into the gum around your teeth. Bone augmentation involves placing a synthetic biomaterial into the patient’s own bone mass while full mouth reconstruction requires the placement of additional bone material throughout the entirety of your upper and lower jaws.
Once you’ve decided on the right course of action, you’ll want to get started preparing for your appointment. You should arrive well-groomed and appropriately dressed. Your doctor will likely ask you some questions during your initial consultation so remember to bring relevant documentation including medical history, medications, insurance cards, and lab results. If you’re scheduled for a surgical procedure, make sure to wear loose fitting clothing that doesn’t obstruct access to your work area and don’t forget to pack a few changes of clothes (especially underwear) just incase anything goes wrong during the procedure.
On the day of your appointment, you’ll meet with your dentist who will perform a thorough oral exam. After determining what needs to be done, he/she will discuss treatment options with you along with the potential complications associated with each procedure. He/She will also let you know how long you can return home after the procedure before resuming normal activities. Once everything has been discussed, your physician will determine which method will benefit your situation the most.
Your next step will be to schedule your procedure. Depending on what type of surgical procedure you require, your dentist may send out an email or fax requesting certain tests prior to scheduling a date. These tests include bloodwork, x-rays, and possibly an EKG depending on your health status.
If you are planning to undergo a simple gum graft, your dentist will first clean your teeth and gums thoroughly using local anesthesia. This allows him/her to properly prep the areas where the new gum tissues will eventually grow. Next, he/she will outline the procedure and explain exactly what will happen over several steps.
After ensuring that you understand the details of the procedure, your dentist will begin making small cuts and incisions in your gums. During this part of the procedure, he/she might trim away excess gum tissue, remove damaged nerves, and cut tiny openings through the top layers of your gums. Small instruments will also be inserted underneath the gums to create pockets where fresh gum tissue will later be transplanted. All together, this portion of the procedure usually takes between 20 minutes and an hour.
During this stage, you’ll feel pressure and slight discomfort but nothing too intense. Once the surgeon has completed his/her work, sutures will be used to close the cuts and stop bleeding. For patients undergoing surgical procedures, antibiotics will also be prescribed to prevent post-operative infections. Upon completion of this stage, your dentist will apply a splint to hold the newly formed gum tissue in place.
The final phase of your procedure will occur approximately two weeks following your surgery. Here, your dentist will attach the splints that were previously used during the healing phase to your teeth. This provides your grafted gums enough time to heal without being disturbed. It should take anywhere from four days to three weeks for the wound to completely heal, though many people find this timeframe acceptable.
Following your recovery, you should resume eating solid foods but refrain from smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or drinking alcohol. It’s also recommended that you avoid strenuous physical activity until your grafted tissue is fully healed. Taking pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs may cause side effects like nausea or diarrhea so consult with your physician before taking them.
A typical gum graft procedure typically lasts for one to 1.5 hours. When you arrive at your dental office for a gum grafting procedure, you can expect the entire process to take less than 90 minutes. Though the surgery itself should take no longer than one hour, it is best to allow for extra time to ensure you are comfortable. Your doctor will also advise you on the proper care of your grafted tissue once you leave the hospital.
For those interested in learning more about gum grafts, visit HealthyDentist.com. We hope you never experience the embarrassment or pain that comes with advanced gum disease but if you do, we encourage you to contact us immediately. Our goal is to educate our community members about their oral health and offer comprehensive solutions to help improve their overall quality of life.
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