A gum graft (also known as a gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery), is a collective name for surgical periodontal procedures that aim to thicken and strengthen gingival tissue as well as cover exposed tooth root surfaces with grafted oral tissue. This will protect the roots and underlying tissue from further deterioration as well as provide a highly esthetic and long lasting outcome.
An exposed tooth root is usually the result of gingival recession due to periodontal disease. Areas of thin gum tissue, in conjunction with underlying bone loss may predispose an area to a receding gum line. Other factors which may contribute to gingival recession include clenching and grinding, your bite (occlusion) and local mechnical trauma.
Some of the more common types of gum grafting include:
Subepithelial connective tissue graft – This procedure is commonly used to cover exposed roots. A sliver of tissue is removed from the palate and relocated to the site of gum recession. This will allow your body’s own natural tissue to cover the exposed root surfaces. The graft will blend naturally with the recipient tissue, providing a long lasting, predictable and highly esthetic outcome.
Donor Tissue – In many cases, we may utilize donor connective tissue in place of tissue taken from the palate. This will provide a long lasting, highly esthetic outcome without the necessity of involving a secondary palatal surgical site. In some cases, this may result in more rapid healing with less post operative discomfort.
Free gingival graft – This procedure is often used to thicken gum tissue. A layer of tissue is removed from the palate and relocated to the area affected by gum recession.
Some of the major benefits of gum grafting include:
Reduced sensitivity – When the tooth root becomes exposed, eating or drinking hot or cold foods can cause extreme sensitivity to the teeth. Gum grafting surgery permanently covers the exposed root, helps reduce discomfort, and restores the good health of the gums.
Improved appearance – Periodontal disease is characterized by gum recession and inflammation. Gum recession and root exposure can make the teeth look longer than normal. Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter, more symmetrical and generally more visually appealing.
Improved gum health – Periodontal disease can progress and destroy gum and bone tissue very rapidly. As roots of your teeth become exposed, they may become susceptible to decay or significant wear and abrasion. Gum grafting can help halt tissue and bone loss; preventing further problems and protecting exposed roots from further deterioration.