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Gum recession

A gum graft is a type of Dental surgery performed to correct the effects of gum recession. It is a quick and relatively simple surgery in which a periodontist removes healthy gum tissue from the roof of the mouth and uses it to build the gum back up where it has receded.

Gum recession occurs when gum tissue wears away, exposing more of the tooth at the root. This may cause increased sensitivity, especially when eating or drinking hot or cold foods. Because gum recession tends to happen slowly, many people do not realize it is happening to them. 

If left untreated, gum recession could eventually lead to tooth loss.

Some people choose to have a gum graft for cosmetic reasons, such as to have a better smile; while for others, a gum graft is necessary to protect the exposed tooth from damage and repair any damage already done.


Different types of gum grafts are available.

There is a variety of Gum Surgery Singapore grafts available, and the type of surgery undertaken depends on the extent and severity of damage and a person's individual needs.

A periodontist will discuss the different types of surgery available with the person to decide which option is the most suitable.

Before starting the Gum Surgery graft, the periodontist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area so that the procedure does not hurt.

They may also lift some of the existing gum away to expose the root of the tooth and clean it.

The three different types of gum graft surgery are:

Connective tissue grafts

In this procedure the periodontist:

removes tissue from the roof of the mouth by making a flap and taking tissue from underneath the top layer

stitches the tissue onto the existing gum tissue to cover the exposed tooth root

stitches the flap on the roof of the mouth from where they took the tissue

Free gingival grafts

This is the preferred method for people with thin gums who require extra tissue to enlarge the gums.

In this procedure the periodontist:

removes tissue directly from the top layer of tissue on the roof of the mouth

stitches this tissue to the existing gum area

Pedicle (lateral) grafts

This is the preferred method for people who have lots of gum tissue growing near the exposed tooth.

In this procedure the periodontist:

grafts tissue from the gum around or near the tooth requiring treatment

only partially cuts away from this tissue, keeping one edge attached

stretches the tissue over or down, covering the exposed tooth root and holding it in place with stitches

A periodontist may source the tissue from a tissue bank rather than removing gum tissue from a person's mouth.

Preparing for a gum graft surgery

Someone should drive the person home after the procedure.

Once the person and their dentist have considered all the options and decided on the type of surgery, there is not much that a person needs to do to prepare for the procedure.

However, it is essential to ensure a family member or friend is available to drive to and from the appointment.

This is important because the pain medication prescribed to manage the discomfort means it is unsafe for a person to have gum graft surgery to drive.

People getting gum grafts will be able to go home right away after the procedure. A periodontist will discuss all the aftercare instructions to ensure the graft heals successfully.


A person can aid recovery by:

avoiding flossing or brushing at the treatment site

using a special mouthwash which controls plaque build-up

taking antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection

avoiding strenuous exercise

avoiding foods that are hard to eat

eating soft, cool foods, for example, ice cream, pasta, eggs, yogurt, and soft cheese

avoiding smoking

The pain and discomfort a person experiences will vary. If the periodontist is using tissue from a tissue bank, for example, a person should feel minimal pain. If they remove the tissue from the roof of the mouth a person may feel pain for a few days.

The healing process is often quick, taking 1 to 2 weeks for the mouth to heal fully but may take longer. People can take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or prescription medications to help manage any discomfort.

After the procedure, teeth may feel more sensitive than usual, particularly to hot and cold foods, and people may benefit from using desensitizing toothpaste or mouthwash.

Most people can return to work the following day.

A person will probably have a follow-up appointment with their dentist after surgery to check the healing process is progressing as it should. The dentist may also remove any stitches if necessary.

The gums will not only look different after surgery but may feel tighter and firmer too.

Are there any complications?

Complications of gum graft surgery are minimal and uncommon.

It is, however, possible that people may experience the following:

bleeding gums

swollen gums

teeth feeling looser (though this should only be temporary).

sensitive teeth.

spaces appearing between the teeth.

Occasionally, the graft tissue.

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Joined: June 10th, 2020
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