Because of an ongoing gum infection, I needed a gum graft surgery. This is my experience.
What Is a Gum Graft?
Gum graft surgery is performed when a person loses a portion of their gum and wants to see a full gum again. Gum grafts can become necessary where there has been a root canal filling (which has failed) or where a tooth has died and the canal has not been filled. Sometimes, the gum simply starts receding for no reason, which leads to a patient feeling the need to have reconstructive treatment.
How Do I Know If I Need a Graft?
There is no need to have a graft performed. The only need comes when you want the aesthetic appearance to be altered.
I had a graft four years ago because I had an ongoing infection at the root of my front left tooth; my gum had receded so much that all you could see was the tooth, and it had become very discoloured. I felt it looked unsightly, so I opted to have a graft.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of it for me. Rather, it was the start. I also had to have the offending tooth removed because it was starting to become painful, and I really didn't like the thought of an infection there, albeit a dormant infection.
How Much Does a Gum Graft Cost in the UK?
Prices can vary. I paid £1,700 for mine, but that also included a bone graft as I had barely any left to support my gum.
I was referred to a well-known periodontist (the name for a gum graft specialists). He talked me through the procedure and gave me a quote. To be honest, I was very pleasantly surprised with the cost. I thought it would be more.
You don't have to go to a periodontist to have a graft procedure though. Your own dentist may perform one too. Some dentists won't want to perform this procedure on a front tooth if the gum is in the sort of state mine was in. It really is a job for a specialist in the art, and believe me, it really is an art form. I can hardly believe that my gum is not the one I came into the world with. It is perfectly formed, and my body did not reject it.
What Happens During the Grafting Process?
Your dentist will take some gum tissue from the roof of your mouth and graft it around your tooth.
Is It Painful?
It wasn't painful at the time of the surgery, but it was pretty painful when the anaesthetic wore off, it has to be said. Strangely, the area that was grafted was not painful at all for me. The only annoyance was the hard stitches that were continually prodding the inside of my upper lip. I was so relieved to get those removed.
How Long Is the Recovery Period?
Again, it varies from person to person. It depends on the severity of the graft itself as well as the amount of flesh that's taken from the roof of the mouth. It took about three months before I felt human again and a further three months before I can say that the discomfort had completely subsided.
If I'm completely honest, I would not choose to have a graft if I had a gum recession around a lower tooth or a back tooth as the discomfort lasted a long time. That said, I am so grateful for the amazing job my periodontist did for me, and I am extremely happy with the end result: a perfectly formed, natural-looking gum line.
Gum Graft Success Rates
Success rates are reasonably high. It is possible that your gum will begin to recede again in the future, but this is generally where there was no actual cause for the recession in the first place.
When patients brush properly, the success rate increases considerably. People with receding gums have teeth that appear longer than normal. They don't, of course, but the missing gum makes them look elongated. When the graft has been completed, the tooth will look as normal.
My procedure was incredibly successful. The gum has not moved at all, and as my dentist commented just the other day, it is sound.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.