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. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth or gently moved over from adjacent areas to provide a stable band of attached gingiva around the tooth. The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root.
If you do not want to use your own tissue, donor tissues are also available. The donor tissue is treated so there are no active cells and thus no chance of disease transmission. With the use of donor tissue, there is no second surgical site for harvesting tissue on your palate leading to less discomfort. Since we have unlimited tissue at our disposable, we can also graft as many teeth as needed in one surgery. The donor graft is basically a scaffolding that your body grows its own gum tissue upon. Over time the original donor graft will be resorbed away leaving you with only your own natural tissue.
Gum grafting procedures are highly predictable and result in a stable, healthy band of attached tissue around your teeth.