Gum grafting and bone grafting are two important, but often misunderstood, procedures that play an important role in achieving “The Total Smile.” As a Beverly Hills periodontist, I often find that my patients are unfamiliar with how these procedures can contribute to their overall oral health and attractiveness. For certain patients, bone and gum grafting can be essential. Here”s the “skin and bones” of bone and gum grafting:
Best for: Gum grafting is often beneficial for individuals who suffer from a receding gum line, which causes the tooth roots to become exposed, making the teeth more sensitive to extreme temperatures and increasing the risk for cavities. The exposed roots can also cause an esthetic problem.
Procedure: During this procedure, either a small amount of the patient”s donor tissue (obtained from the roof of the mouth) or AlloDerm® is used to the site of gum recession. This can be performed on one or several teeth.
Results: There is usually very little recovery time especially if AlloDerm is used and the roof of the mouth is left intact. Most gum grafting procedures are successful. With surgery, patients prevent future gum recession and tooth loss while enjoying a more beautiful smile.
Best for: Individuals who have lost a tooth or teeth due to gum disease, extraction, infection, or injury often require a bone graft in order to restore and stabilize the surrounding area before replacement or corrective procedures, such as dental implants or a bridge, can occur.
Procedure: A bone graft can use the patient”s own bone, another human bone fragment, a synthetic bone material, or bovine (cow) bone. The donor site is first prepared and then the new bone is positioned and anchored into place. Sometimes, I may use bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP 2) or stem cells to help regenerate the patient”s own bone.
Results: After healing has occurred, most patients have sufficient bone density to support a cosmetic procedure such as dental implants. In addition to securing the jaw for future surgery, bone grafting can help to protect existing teeth that are at risk.