6 tips to help you recover faster from gum graft surgery

Not often considered as a strong and critical component of our bodies, our gums are nevertheless very tough stuff and the key ingredient of course for holding our teeth in place. Unfortunately, without proper oral care or bad habits such as smoking, high alcohol volume, or even bad genetic luck; periodontal disease (gum recession) can take hold.

Gum disease is a bad thing. Simply stated, it is an infection in the tissue which holds your teeth in their designated locations. Once infection gets started, it wears away the gums and exposes more of the tooth’s root, which brings with it high sensitivity and increases the chance for bacteria to settle in and cause further issues.

Gum disease happens very gradually and it’s difficult to notice until you have bleeding or sore gums, or even begin losing teeth. At this stage, gum graft surgery is recommended to repair the immediate problem and prevent further, more damaging, issues.

But wait, surgery of any kind is typically not something to look forward to and most people cringe even more when discussing surgery inside the mouth. However, the good news is gum graft surgery is a relatively simple procedure and following a few tips during the recovery phase will help return you to 100 percent in no time. First, let’s look briefly at what gum surgery entails.

Gum grafting surgery 101

It sounds intimidating but gum surgery (also known as gingival graft surgery) isn’t that bad. It is actually a straightforward outpatient procedure involving the removal of a small portion of tissue from the roof of the mouth and stitching it to areas where the gum has receded.

After surgery, you will feel some effects of the medication as well as localized pain to a mild degree. After about a week things will start returning to normal but in the meantime there are six handy tips to follow to make your post- gum surgery life substantially more enjoyable.

  1. Get the stent

If your surgery involved using your own tissue rather than from a tissue bank, the roof of your mouth will remind you of that fact. If your dentist did not offer or suggest a stent to protect your palate, ask for one. A stent will greatly reduce bleeding and keep your tongue and food pieces away from the wound until the stitches come out.

  1. Antibiotics to the rescue

Antibiotics are typically prescribed to patients after gum surgery to help prevent infection. This is important. Follow the instructions and run out the entire course to keep infection in check.  

  1. Pain meds and ice are your friends

Most patients experience facial swelling and sometimes bruising near the site of gum surgery. A tandem of pain medication and ice packs will ease what ails you. For best results with ice, start using cold packs on your face right after leaving the dentist. Then continue applying every 20-30 minutes through the entire day. Swelling will intensify further as healing kicks in and ice treatments are a saving grace.

Ice will go a long way in keeping the pain at manageable levels but if you’re still hurting, head to the pharmacy and pick up some over-the-counter medication. If you still have significant pain, talk to your dentist right away for other options.

  1. Be smart with your diet

After your surgery, it’s time to be very savvy with what you eat and drink. Most importantly, avoid hot or cold foods and beverages. The shock of hot or cold will hurt like mad and may cause further swelling and you don’t want that. Go for items of neutral temperature.

Soft food is the answer. Think bananas, oatmeal, eggs, mashed potatoes, and the like to avoid irritating the surgery site.

Opt for a liquid diet for the first week or so. Drinking soup and some stews through a straw is a good approach. Really anything that won’t hurt your teeth works great.

  1. Light exercise ONLY

You might want to get right back into your athletic warrior routine but hold up. No strenuous exercise for two full weeks. Period.

  1. Rest

Of all the above remedies, rest is the one you simply can’t do without. Relax and let your body heal.

For more information on recovering from gum graft surgery, contact StarWhite Dental at (951) 228-0635 or starwhitedental.com.

StarWhite Dental

Veneers have been used in the dental field for over 3 decades, making them one of the most sought-after procedures for concealing stains and other imperfections. Today, many consider composite resin veneers to be the most modernized choice. However, porcelain veneers are the arguably superior option. If you’re wondering why, keep reading. Here are a few reasons why you should spend a little extra and choose porcelain veneers to reshape your smile.

Porcelain Veneers Are Stain Resistant

Did you know that more than a quarter of composite veneers stain within the first decade of use? With this in mind, it is good to know that porcelain is non-porous and smooth, which renders is much more resistant to stains and discoloration. However, even if you opt for porcelain, be aware that you will get the best results if you generally abstain from specific foods and drinks that are prone to staining the teeth. For you coffee and wine fanatics out there, this does not mean you have to give them up entirely, just enjoy them in moderation and make sure to brush and floss regularly.

Unmatched Durability

Ideally, your brand new veneers should last for a long time. In addition to cutting down on time spent at the dentist, reliable veneers will keep your smile looking fresh. The typical lifespan for composite veneers is anywhere from 5 to 7 years, while porcelain veneers boast a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. So in addition to staying white for a much longer period of time, porcelain veneers are more resistant to scratches, chips, and scuffs. If price is an issue, factor in the extra 5 to 7 years of longevity afforded by porcelain veneers and you’ll see that they are usually the better deal.

The Stabilizing Effect

One overlooked benefit afforded by veneers is their ability to stabilize damaged teeth and prevent them from becoming more damaged in the future. Porcelain is an ideal material for this task, so you don’t have to worry about a crack or chip in one of your teeth ruining your smile. However, be aware that veneers cannot save every tooth. If you have questions in this regard, be sure to speak with your dentist. Odds are they will be able to help you determine the most viable path forward for each individual tooth. While the wait may seem a little agitating, the end results are well worth it.

Porcelain Provides A Greater Amount Of Adjustment

Another advantage porcelain veneers have over their composite counterparts is adjustability. Composite veneers are inherently limited in terms of discoloration and the ability to cover cracks of all shapes and sizes. Porcelain, on the other hand, can cover almost any type of damage. So if you are looking to fill small gaps in-between teeth, or even adjust the look of moderately crooked teeth, porcelain is the way to go.

When It Comes To Color…

One of the most advantageous aspects of porcelain veneers is the ability to fine-tune the color, shade, and tint of each tooth. This facilitates a much more natural smile that what composite resin veneers are capable of. So if maintaining a naturalistic appearance is important to you, porcelain is your new best friend.

What About Teeth Whitening?

Many people prefer porcelain veneers to regular teeth whitening sessions. This is largely because teeth whitening causes tooth sensitivity, makes teeth more porous, and only achieves temporary results. On top of that, teeth that undergo regular whitening are actually more likely to become stained after contact with substances such as wine or coffee. Compared to the broad degree of customization afforded by porcelain veneers, there really isn’t much of a contest. However, be sure to consult with your dentist before making a decision one way or the other.

All in all, porcelain veneers are the perfect option for a beautiful smile. No matter whether your goal is to reshape or whiten your smile, realign your teeth, or improve your self-esteem, porcelain veneers are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Regardless of what veneers or cosmetic procedures you opt for, StarWhite Dental is here to help. Give them a call today to discuss your treatment options and find the procedure that works best for you.

Adjusting to Your New Dentures

If you have experienced tooth loss from tooth decay, gum disease, or injury, or you’ve had multiple teeth removed; you are a good candidate and likely familiar with dentures. You also likely have questions about them, such as what they are, what they do, and how they work. Let’s look closer at this traditional and commonly used oral care treatment.

Dentures—What Are They?

Simply defined, dentures are removable artificial teeth and gums specifically formed to fit your mouth to replace missing natural teeth. Your dentist will create dentures that visually match adjacent existing teeth and fit them to the gum line, replacing a few teeth or all of them with partial or full dentures.

Modern dentures are typically made of a very hard resin but are more fragile than your natural teeth and wear down after about five years, requiring replacement. They also tend to chip or even crack if not properly maintained.  The supporting “gums” of dentures are usually made of a flexible polymer that melds with your natural gum line.

Is There a Benefit to Wearing Dentures?

An obvious reason to choose dentures is to regain your smile after the loss of multiple teeth, but additional benefits also make them a wise and popular choice.

We need our teeth to provide support to our face and jaw bone. As such, dentures aid in maintaining stability to our cheeks and mouth, filling out the profile of the face. Dentures can also take the place of natural teeth that are damaged or causing significant pain, and they allow you to chew properly and keep your body nourished with the healthy food you need.

Dentures make it easier to speak as well. When we were kids and our baby teeth fell out, we quickly learned it was tricky to talk normally. The gap where a tooth used to be makes our words sound goofy and the same thing happens with adults and elderly people but properly fitted dentures can restore an engaging voice.

Types of Dentures

Dentures generally come in three different types; Conventional, Immediate, and Overdenture.

Conventional Dentures

These are full, removable dentures which are fitted to your mouth after all teeth are removed and tissue is fully healed.

Immediate Dentures

This type of denture is placed immediately after remaining teeth are removed, which means patients don’t have to wait through the entire healing process.

Overdenture

Overdentures make use of healthy teeth to help provide stability and preserve the integrity of the jaw bone.

What Will Your New Dentures Feel Like?

As is the case with most every major oral procedure, it will take a while to get used to the feel of new dentures. It typically takes several weeks before irritation and soreness subside and sometimes the dentures will feel loose but that is part of the interim period when cheek and tongue muscles get used to their new neighbors.

Another common and frustrating side effect of new dentures is increased saliva flow. Yes, it’s messy and you shouldn’t take a date to a fancy restaurant when you’re drooling all over the place, but it goes away after your mouth adapts to the dentures.

Top Five Tips for Adjusting to New Dentures

Everyone is different and every experience is different but there are several go-to habits to adopt to help you adjust to new dentures.

  1. Practice eating slowly and with soft food cut into small pieces. Chew slowly with both sides of your mouth.
  2. If you hear a click from your dentures when speaking, speak slower and practice repeating words that give you trouble. It also helps to read out loud.
  3. Your dentures might slip when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or smiling. If this happens you can reposition the dentures by simply biting down and swallowing.
  4. Wear your dentures per the prescribed times for the full duration of the breaking-in phase.  
  5. Keep them clean. Rinse the dentures before brushing, use a soft-bristle toothbrush, and be sure to clean your whole mouth including gums, cheeks, and tongue.

Bonus tip: When you’re not wearing your dentures, keep them submerged in water and in a place they won’t get lost or damaged.

For more information on adjusting to new dentures and available options, contact StarWhite Dental at (951) 291-0668.