Gum grafting is also known as gingival grafting or periodontal plastic surgery. It is a surgical procedure that covers an exposed tooth root with grafted oral tissue. Exposed tooth roots are usually caused by gingival recession (receding gums) due to periodontal disease (gum disease). Other causes are trauma and overly aggressive brushing.
Common types of gum grafting
Free gingival graft: This procedure thickens gum tissue. Tissue is removed from the palate and relocated to the gum. Both sites heal quickly without permanent damage.
Subepithelial connective tissue graft: This procedure covers exposed roots. Tissue is removed from the palate and relocated to the site of gum recession.
Acellular dermal matrix allograft: This procedure uses donated, medically processed human tissue as the source of the graft material. The advantage is that tissue is not removed from the patient’s palate which will cause less discomfort.
Reasons for a gum graft
Reduced sensitivity: When the tooth root becomes exposed, the teeth become extremely sensitive to eating or drinking hot or cold foods. Gum grafting covers the exposed root, reduces discomfort, and restores the health of the gums.
Improved gum health: Periodontal disease can progress rapidly and destroy gum tissue in a short period of time if left untreated. Gum grafting will halt bone and tissue loss and protect exposed roots from further damage.
Improved appearance: Receding gums and root exposure make teeth look longer than normal and give the smile a “toothy” appearance. Gum grafting makes the teeth look shorter and more symmetrical, restoring a more pleasant appearance.
Gum grafting treatment
Before gum grafting takes place, a thorough cleaning is performed to remove tartar and bacteria. The gum grafting procedure is generally performed under a local anesthetic. Small incisions are made in the recipient site to accommodate the graft. The graft is then inserted into the recipient site and sutured to stabilize it. A covering protects the surgical area for the first week of healing. Complete healing takes place in approximately six weeks. Gum grafting is a common procedure that is performed with excellent results.
If you have any questions or concerns about gum grafting, please call or contact our office.