A dental implant can offer the same stability and functionality as a natural tooth can. If you have lost a tooth then, a dental implant is the best form of replacement that money can buy. But just as you need sufficient bone for a dental implant, you also need sufficient gum tissue.
Sometimes, because of time or certain oral issues like gum disease, you might need a gum graft as well as a dental implant. This will usually be for two reasons.
Not Enough Gum Tissue to Support the Implant
A dental implant needs a healthy amount of gum tissue to provide support. Your jawbone as well as your gum tissue helps to hold the dental implant in place. If you don't have enough gum tissue because you have naturally thin gums, or you have suffered gum recession, the dental implant could fail in future.
Before a prosthodontist can place a dental implant then, you'll need a gum graft. In this case, a free gingival graft is the best option. For this type of gum graft, the dentist removes a portion of tissue from the roof of the patient's mouth. They then stitch that tissue to the gum. In about two weeks, the gum graft will heal.
Once healed, you'll have enough gum tissue to support your dental implant.
Not Enough Gum Tissue to Cover the Implant
If you have suffered from receding gum tissue in the past, then the titanium root of your dental implant could show through your gum tissue. This will take the attention away from your implant tooth. And you will be more susceptible to infection since bacteria can gain entry to the area around the titanium post.
Fortunately, a connective tissue graft can help to cover the titanium post of your dental implant. This kind of gum graft is best done after your dental implant is in place. To perform a connective tissue graft, a dentist removes tissue from the roof of the mouth and then stitches that tissue around the tissue surrounding the dental implant.
Once the new tissue heals and integrates with your existing gum tissue, you will no longer be able to see the titanium root of your dental implant.
If you have thin gums or have suffered from receding gums in the past, don't worry. You can still have a dental implant. Gum grafting will help to restore or bolster your gum tissue to provide enough support and coverage for a dental implant.
To learn more about dental implants, contact a dentist near you.