A friend where I used to work said she had gum-graft surgery recently, and was dealing with a lot of stitches in her mouth. I hadn't ever heard of gum-graft surgery before, so I wanted to find out a little more about it. I assumed it had something to do with gum disease. I was only partially right.
If you have some teeth where the gum has receded enough that the root is exposed and it causes you pain or discomfort, you may be a candidate for this kind of procedure. The periodontist basically takes some tissue from the roof of your mouth (ouch, I know) and transplants it to the area where it will cover the part of your tooth's root that is showing. Your palate, where the tissue was taken, is packed and sutured for healing. It feels better in a couple of weeks, but takes more like 6-8 weeks to heal completely. (It does fill in completely.)
Here's a great page of frequently asked questions from the University of Cincinnati/Ohio State University's wellness site:
And this periodontist's page has some before-and-after photographs. It's not pretty, I know, but it's really informative:
The good news? My friend was worried, but she actually had other people who'd had the surgery tell her that it went fine, and that their recovery was not that difficult. And having healthy gums grow back over what used to be exposed root surfaces is going to help prevent bone loss and pain in the future.
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