2 Dental Conditions That Require Graft Surgery

Dentists at places like Pine Ridge Dental Group use a wide variety of treatments to try to preserve the natural structures of your mouth whether that be your teeth, gums, or jawbone. Treating these areas sometimes require surgical procedures such as grafts where another part of your body is used to make up for a weak area.

Here are two dental conditions that often require graft surgery for successful treatment.

Receding Gums: Gum Graft  

Gum tissue is meant to closely hug an area near the bottom of your tooth that allows the gums to cover and protect the sensitive root structures. Genetics, excessive brushing, or poor oral healthcare can all lead to receding gums, which can make your teeth look abnormally large and put the root at risk.

There is no way to reverse gum recession, though improved oral healthcare techniques can slow the recession. But a gum graft is the only way to recreate the look of a healthy line of gums.

A gum graft uses soft tissue from elsewhere in your mouth – usually from the extra tissue in the roof of your mouth. Your dentist will numb the roof and gums with local anesthesia before transplanting the tissue. The tissue will be stitched into place on the gums to create a higher gum line. Those stitches will dissolve and the tissue will grow together so that it looks like one solid piece of soft tissue.

Weak or Missing Jawbone: Bone Graft

Jawbone can deteriorate or weaken due to systemic illness, trauma, or infectious decay. Weakened bone can threaten the health and stability of the natural teeth in the area. The bone also makes it impossible for a dentist to use a dental implants to replace a missing tooth. A strong jawbone is essential for a dental implant because the metal root sits in the bone and uses the fusion between the two for stability.

Jawbone can be restored during a bone graft procedure. As with a gum graft, the dentist will use healthy bone from elsewhere in your mouth when possible. The bone typically comes from a healthier section of your jaw or from your hip.. Your dentist will implant the bone into the weak area, cutting out any damaged existing bone where necessary, and the healing period will allow the segments of bone to fuse together. If you're getting a dental implant, the root stage will happen once the bone has healed.

Sometimes you don't have natural bone available to provide the graft. This can be due to a variety of decay or systemic illness-related reasons or simply personal preference. Alternative products exist from bovine grafts using cow bone to synthetic grafts. These products won't fuse to your natural bone as well but are sufficient when natural bone isn't an option.