Root Coverage Graft(Tunneling)
A Procedure With No Incisions
This procedure is used to cover exposed root surfaces (gum recession), replace gum tissue, help prevent gum recession, and increase gum thickness.
Causes of Gingival Recession
- Aggressive tooth brushing
- Orthodontic tooth movement
- Dipping snuff and chewing tobacco
- Periodontal disease
- Removable tooth replacement appliances
Reasons For Gum Grafting
When the tooth root becomes exposed, eating or drinking hot or cold foods can cause extreme sensitivity of the teeth. Gum grafting surgery permanently covers the exposed root, helps reduce discomfort, and restores the good health of the gums.
Gum recession and root exposure can make the teeth look longer than normal and the smile appear “toothy.” Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter, more symmetrical, and more pleasing to look at. In addition, adjacent tissue can be enhanced and augmented during the procedure for aesthetic purposes.
Improved Gum Health
Periodontal disease can progress and destroy gum tissue very rapidly. If left untreated, a large amount of gum tissue can be lost in a short period of time. Gum grafting can help halt tissue and bone loss, preventing further problems and protecting exposed roots from further decay.
Tunneling Procedure For Gum Grafting
Cleaning The Exposed Root Surfaces
First, the teeth must be thoroughly cleaned. Once the root surfaces are cleaned, they are treated with doxycycline solution to further detoxify the root surface.
This procedure is performed by tunneling under the gum tissues to create a space for the graft. The gum tissue between the teeth always stays intact.
Inserting New Tissue
With this procedure, the patient's tissue or donor tissue (allograft) can be used. The graft is placed under the tunneled gum tissue.
Single Suture Secured
The graft and gum tissue are raised to cover the exposed root surface using one suture. One suture (stitch) is always used, regardless of the number of teeth grafted in the same area of the mouth.
Once the surgery has healed, it will look the same as adjacent gum tissue that was not grafted.
Care After the Procedure:
Following surgery, you will be given an ice pack to apply to the surgical site to help control swelling. A prescription may be given that time to reduce swelling. In addition, avoid pulling on the lip to look at the graft and no brushing graft site. Other restrictions involve no physical activity for the first week after surgery. A prescription for pain medication will be prescribed after surgery to help with discomfort, which will be present for approximately for 1 to 2 days.
No brushing for 2 weeks on grafted teeth. You will be prescribed a oral rinse that will keep the surgical site clean. At two weeks after surgery the suture will be removed and oral hygiene instructions involving gentle brushing grafted teeth will be given.
At 5 weeks oral hygiene instructions with floss will be given around grafted teeth.
At 8 weeks post surgery, photos will be taken of the grafted site. This will be the last post surgical check appointment.