Health Topics A-Z





























Periodontal Disease: Do You Need Gum Graft Surgery?

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: Gum graft surgery is a procedure where tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth and used to help treat your infected gums.
Air Date: 10/27/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH
Otomo Corgel Joan Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, is the president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).

In addition to maintaining a private periodontal practice in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Dr. Otomo-Corgel is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Periodontics at the University of California Los Angeles' (UCLA) School of Dentistry, where she earned her dental degree in 1979.

She completed a Masters of Public Health degree from the UCLA School of Public Health in 1980. An AAP member since 1977, Dr. Otomo-Corgel has served on the boards of trustees for the AAP and the AAP Foundation.
Periodontal Disease: Do You Need Gum Graft Surgery?
Maintaining dental hygiene is crucial for your overall health.

Not only do you depend on your mouth for breathing, but it's also the opening where food enters and digests into your intestines. When your mouth isn't taken care of, you could increase your risk of developing several oral infections and diseases.

For instance, periodontal disease happens when plaque continues to build up and hardens on your gum line and causes your gums to swell. Usually, brushing and flossing can help get rid of access plaque, but can quickly form in your mouth within 24 hours. The longer the plaque is left in your mouth, the harder it is to get rid of.

What are some symptoms of periodontal disease?

If you have swollen and bright red gums, if your gums are tender to touch, receding gums, new spaces between your teeth, bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth, and if your teeth are loose, then you might have periodontal disease.

Is gum graft surgery the right treatment option?

Gum graft is a half-hour to hour-long procedure that helps regenerate gum tissue at the infected and inflamed areas of your gums to help ease painful symptoms.

What are the different types of gum graft surgery?

Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor will decide which gum graft surgery is best for you. There are three different types of gum graft surgery, one of them being connective-tissue gum graft, which is the most commonly used. This is used to treat the root exposure of your gums. The second is pedicle grafts, where tissue is grafted from another part of your gums for the specific area that needs treatment. Lastly, free gingival grafts, which involves the root tissue of your mouth being attached to the part of your gum that needs treatment.

What is the healing and recovery process like?

Within the first 24 hours of your procedure it is fine for you to eat soft foods such as smoothies, pasta or potato or tuna salad, and applesauce. However, it is important that you stay away from using straws, so there isn't any sucking action that can damage the tissue in your mouth. You want to avoid hard, crunchy foods like pretzels, chips, and nuts for the first week.

What else do you need to know about periodontal disease and gum graft surgery?

President of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, shares what periodontal disease is, and why you might benefit from gum graft surgery.