Soft Tissue Grafting

What is the treatment?

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 healthy gum tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and used to build the gum back up where it has receded.

South Down Dental Clinic

We operate on a dentist referral basis only.

Please speak to your dentist about getting referred to this clinic.

Prior to surgery

  • For your own well being, it is advisable for you to have had something light to eat 2 hours before surgery and that you wear comfortable clothing on the day of the surgery.

On the day of surgery

  • It is essential to ensure a family member or friend is available to drive you to and from the appointment.

You will be able to go home right away after the procedure. We will discuss all the aftercare instructions to ensure the graft heals successfully.

You 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, yoghurt, and soft cheese
  • Avoiding smoking

The pain and discomfort a person experiences will vary. If we use tissue from a tissue bank, for example, you should feel minimal pain. If we remove the tissue from the roof of the mouth, you 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. You 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 desensitising toothpaste or mouthwash.

Most people can return to work the following day.

You will have a follow-up appointment 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.

You should call us as soon as possible if you notice any symptoms that suggest the gums have become infected after surgery.

Symptoms of infection include:

  • Bleeding that continues for over 20 minutes, despite applying pressure
  • Unexpected pain, swelling, and bruising
  • Fever and pus

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
  • Infection
  • Occasionally, the graft tissue may not attach to the graft site properly. This is very rare, but if this happens a person might require repeat surgery.

Some people do not like the way their smile looks after their gum graft surgery. In these situations, we may be able to reshape the gums to help change the way they look.

If you have any concerns about your treatment, please call the South Down Dental Clinic 028/(048 ROI) 3025 1715.