Gum Grafting / Root Coverage FAQ
1. Why should I get the gum graft that has been recommended?
An exposed root is more susceptible to cavities, toothbrush wear, and root sensitivity. The root is softer than the crown of the tooth, which is why it is more susceptible to these insults. This is why a healthy smile has gum covering all roots.
2. How much will it cost and will my insurance cover this procedure?
Dental insurance generally provides coverage for soft tissue grafts, and our office will submit and monitor your claim. We have multiple payments and financing options available such as interest-free financing up to 12 months.
3. Does the procedure hurt?
By using current, minimally invasive techniques and newer surgical dressings, post-op discomfort has been drastically reduced. The post-op experience is vastly different than those in the recent past. We also offer different sedation options to help pass the time and make the appointment more pleasant.
4. Where is the procedure done? How long does it take?
This is a minor procedure performed in our dental office, and it usually takes about an hour. We always schedule at least 1 ½ hours to allow time for you to get comfortable, to answer all of your questions, and to review post-operative care thoroughly.
5. Do I have to miss work? How much downtime should I expect?
The vast majority of patients take the day off on the day of the procedure. Many of our patients decide to go back to work the day after, but some patients take the weekend to recover. This is a personal decision. There will be post-op swelling and discomfort that generally lasts about 4 days, but most can control this with Tylenol and Ibuprofen and continue with their normal daily routines.
6. What is the follow-up like?
There is a 2-week post-op appointment to remove any remaining sutures, a 2-month appointment to check healing and clean the site, and a 4-month appointment to check final healing. This is standard post-operative monitoring. You can always call the office or the emergency number, at any point, to discuss any questions you may have during the post-op period.
7. How long do gum grafts last in my mouth?
Gum grafts can last a lifetime as long as there is proper home care on a daily basis. A powered toothbrush with a sensitive, soft head will help prevent you from traumatizing your gums with your toothbrushing technique as well as effectively clean away the plaque in your mouth on a daily basis.
8. What can I eat after the procedure?
We ask that you have a softer diet. Avoid raw carrots, raw apples, and fried chicken. Instead, eat soft seamed vegetables and baked chicken. At the consultation appointment, we discuss post-op management and give a detailed list of the types of foods you can eat.
9. What is a soft tissue graft (gum graft)?
A soft tissue graft is the use of the patient’s tissue or donor tissue to cover an exposed root. The goal of a gum graft is to increase root coverage of the exposed root, to increase the thickness of the tissue that covers the root, and to increase the pink, firm gum that generally covers your roots when you smile in the mirror.
10. What is recession or root exposure?
Recession or root exposure is what happens when gum and bone are traumatized leaving the root of the tooth exposed. The tooth appears longer than healthy teeth because the exposed root.
11. What causes root exposure (gum recession)?
The main causes are toothbrush trauma and the build-up of plaque in your mouth. Orthodontics and occlusal trauma may also contribute to the formation of recession.