Gum Grafting for Gum Recession –Oaks Dental, Seoul, Korea


Procedure and Recovery

My name is Dr. Hong and I am an English speaking dentist at the Oaks Dental Clinic in Seoul, Korea. I have been in the field of dentistry for more than 25 years and one of the most difficult kinds of cases to heal are those deal with gum recession.  Gum recession is one of those things that seems to happen to everyone but finding a fix to receding gums is something most people have a hard time finding. As a licensed dental specialist in this field both in the United States and in Korea and I practice at the Oaks Dental Clinic in Seoul. I can attest to the incredible stat that only about 1% of all dentists are qualified to perform gum grafting for gum recession. This is a very sensitive technique based skill that requires years to master is an amazing procedure that can replace recessed gums and save your teeth. There are not many dentists who are trained in gum grafting for gum recession. It is an extremely narrow field of experts who can do this successfully because it is one of the most technique based parts of dentistry. That being said, in my own experience and in peer-reviewed studies the success rate of these procedures if done by a qualified dentist is 95% over 7 years with only a 1mm loss of gum. This means gum grafting can pretty much last for life if you take care of your gums afterward in the proper way.  

What is a Gum Graft?

 A gum graft is a type of dental surgery performed to correct the effects of gum recession. At the Oaks Dental Clinic, we remove healthy gum tissue from the roof of the mouth and uses it to build the gum back up where it has receded. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue wears away. Typically this happens due to excessive brushing, gum disease and even genetic predisposition to gum recession. If the gum recedes, then the tooth root can be exposed leading to sensitivity, pain and eventually tooth loss.
There are different methods that can be used to graft gum and the method chosen depends on the severity of the case but in general, a periodontist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area, the doctor may also lift some of the existing gum away to expose the root of the tooth and clean it. After that the method of gum grafting will begin. There are typically three to four different types of gum graft surgeries we perform at the Oaks Dental Clinic but we have others as well. It is always on a case by case basis:

1st Connective Tissue Graft

In this procedure, the periodontist removes tissue from the roof of the mouth by making a flap and taking tissue from underneath the top layer then stitches the tissue onto the existing gum tissue to cover the exposed tooth root. Next, they stitch the flap on the roof of the mouth from where they took the tissue. This is one of the most common methods at the Oaks Dental Clinic.

2nd Free Gingival Grafts

This is the preferred method for people with thin gums who require extra tissue. In this procedure, the periodontist removes tissue directly from the top layer of tissue on the roof of the mouth and stitches this tissue to the existing gum area.

3rd Pedicle (Lateral) Grafts

This is the preferred method for people who have lots of gum tissue growing near the exposed tooth. In this procedure the periodontist grafts tissue from the gum around or near the tooth requiring treatment and only partially cuts away from this tissue, keeping one edge attached. They then stretch the tissue over or down, covering the exposed tooth root and holding it in place with stitches.

4th The Pinhole Surgical Technique

Pinhole surgical technique is a less invasive method for gum recession (gingival recession) without grafting or sutures. With the Pinhole surgical technique, an incision is made across the papillae of the damaged tooth area in the sulcus, the flap is elevated and pulled into place with sutures. This technique is often combined with other types of grafts as it may not be enough on its own. It has some limitations because the root coverage is not as good with advanced bone loss and the area must be free of periodontal disease and other issues such as inflammation.
For all the procedures extra tissue can be sourced from a tissue bank rather than removing gum tissue from a person's mouth. At the Oaks Dental Clinic, we recommend that if you want more than 5 or 6 teeth done than consider using banked tissue. If you harvest tissue from your own mouth, it will heal and grow back within 6 months and that site can be reused for harvesting. Since the Oaks Dental Clinic is an English speaking dentist in Seoul, Korea we can guide you to decide what is best in your specific case.
Typically after a gum grafting procedure, you can immediately go home. The best Recovery tips for this procedure are
• avoiding brushing or flossing the treated area until the stitches heal
• using a special mouthwash which controls plaque build up
• taking antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection (this is on a case by case basis)
• avoiding strenuous exercise until the stitches heal
• avoiding foods that are hard to eat
• avoiding smoking and drinking until the area has healed
The healing process is fairly fast with full healing taking only 7-14 days in total. However, if you wish to use the same graft area again to withdraw tissue you must wait months until it heals fully. Most people can return to work on the same day or the following day.
A person will probably have a follow-up appointment with their dentist after surgery to check the healing process is progressing as it should. The dentist may also remove any stitches if necessary. If you can’t return to the dentist to remove the stitches, dissolving stitches can be done instead.

Oaks Dental Clinic is an English speaking dentist in Seoul, Korea. If you would like to message Oaks Dental Clinic directly:
Phone (WhatsApp as well): +82-10-9268-8859 (Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-3:30pm Seoul Time)
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