Will a gum graft help with tooth sensitivity? - Dr. Colin Richman

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Will a gum graft help with tooth sensitivity?

April 11, 2015

By: Dr. Colin Richman

Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of gum recession. The underlying root of the tooth is exposed, and this structure is much more sensitive to factors like temperature changes than the tooth’s crown.

Fortunately, patients who develop tooth sensitivity after their gums recede may be able to get relief from a type of gum surgery known as a gum graft.

Not only will a gum graft hopefully reduce any tooth sensitivity, it is also important for addressing gum disease and improving the patient’s oral health in general.

In performing a gum graft, a periodontist will take donor tissue from another location and use that tissue to cover up the area where the gums have receded.

The periodontist may use any of a number of different techniques in a gum graft. Connective tissue grafting is an increasingly common approach. Tissue is removed from beneath the palate’s surface, and a pouch is created at the site of gum recession. That pouch is then pulled up over the donor tissue. This technique produces good root coverage and aesthetically pleasing results.

In another procedure, the free gingival graft, the donor tissue is taken from the patient’s palate and inserted at the site of recession. This technique is becoming less common, though, because it produces less attractive results and patients sometimes have more discomfort with this method.

Patients who need extensive gum grafting at multiple sites may need to get an allograft, in which the donor tissue comes from an external source, such as a cadaver or an animal.

The gum graft is typically performed in a periodontist’s office, and patients usually are able to resume their normal activities in a matter of days, unless unexpected complications occur. You will get directions on taking care of your gums after the surgery so that you can reduce your chances of complications.

Have you recently started experiencing tooth sensitivity and also noticed that your gum tissue seems to be shrinking? If so, schedule a consultation with one of our periodontists to learn more about gum grafting and whether it might be beneficial and relieve symptoms in your case.

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