Gum Grafting

When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.

When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.

In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth. When significant, gum recession can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root gouging.

before and after gum grafting

A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. Here are some of the most common types of gum grafting:

  • Free gingival graft: This procedure is commonly used to thicken the gum tissue around roots. A thin piece of superficial tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth to provide a stable band of thick gum tissue around roots affected by gum recession. The roof of the mouth will heal quickly and with no permanent damage.
  • Subepithelial connective tissue graft: This procedure is often used to thicken gum tissue and cover exposed roots. A think piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth.  The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root. The roof of the mouth will heal quickly and with no permanent damage.
  • Soft tissue allograft: This procedure uses medically processed, donated human tissue as a tissue source for the graft. This graft is used to thicken gum tissue and cover exposed roots. The advantage to this procedure is that there is no need for a donor site from the roof of the mouth.

The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable, healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.

Gum Grafting Overview

For a brief narrated overview of the gum grafting process, please click the image below. It will launch our educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about gum grafting.