Improving Your Dental Care

Receding Gums From Periodontal Disease? How Mucogingival Surgery Can Help

Periodontal disease is the main cause of gum recession. Gum recession makes it easier for bacteria to get into gum pockets and destroy tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place. Gum recession can get so bad it can expose your tooth roots and lead to severe sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. If you're working towards correcting your periodontal disease and its effects, you may want to look into mucogingival surgery.

What Is Mucogingival Surgery?

The goal of mucogingival surgery is to reconstruct and preserve gum attachment. During surgery, your periodontist will transfer some gum tissue from your palate to a site with gum recession. This graft will reduce the recession by thickening up gum tissue. If you don't have enough tissue from your palate, then your dentist could use a dermal matrix from a donor. These matrixes are often used to repair things like hernias or skin during breast reconstruction.

Once your gum recession improves after surgery, it will be easier to keep bacteria out of gum pockets and keep your periodontal disease from worsening. Plus, you get the added benefit of improving the appearance of your gingival line when you smile.

Who Is It Recommended For?

Mucogingival surgery is usually reserved for people with more severe periodontal disease and gum recession. It is also a good option for people who wear dentures and need more healthy gum tissue and coverage to retain their oral appliances. Patients with milder cases of gum recession might opt for scaling and root planing or gingivoplasty, where gum tissue is re-contoured.

Are There Any Risks Involved?

Mucogingival surgery is very safe and effective with gentle brushing and flossing habits. However, your dentist can go over the contraindications if you have prior health issues. You should expect some bruising and swelling during the first week after surgery, but these side effects should subside and can be managed with OTC pain relievers. The main risk you should be aware of is possible gum graft necrosis. This is often caused by an inadequate blood supply due to the site being disturbed — which is why it's important to follow your dentist's aftercare instructions so that you don't inadvertently hurt the surgical site.

Can You Improve Surgical Outcomes?

Your periodontist may recommend that you visit a dental hygienist before your surgery. By lowering your plaque levels after these appointments, you have a better chance of recovering more easily after surgery. Once you've healed, your dentist may still recommend more frequent cleanings to manage your gum disease.