A gum graft (also known as a gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery), is a collective name for surgical periodontal procedures that aim to cover an exposed tooth root surface with grafted oral tissue.
Exposed tooth roots are usually the result of gingival recession due to periodontal disease. There are other common causes, including overly aggressive brushing and trauma.
Here are some of the most common types of gum grafting:
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. Both sites will quickly heal without permanent damage.
Subepithelial connective tissue graft – This procedure is commonly used to cover exposed roots. Tissue is removed fairly painlessly from the outer layer of the palate and relocated to the site of gum recession.
Acellular dermal matrix allograft – This procedure uses medically processed, donated human tissue as a tissue source for the graft. The advantage of this is procedure is that there is no need for a donor site from the patient’s palate (and thus, less pain).
Reasons for gum grafting
Gum grafting is a common periodontal procedure. Though the name might sound frightening, the procedure is commonly performed with excellent results.
Here are some of the major benefits associated with gum grafting:
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 and the smile to appear “toothy.” Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter, more symmetrical and generally more pleasing to look at. In addition, adjacent tissue can be enhanced and augmented during the procedure for aesthetic purposes.
Improved gum health – Periodontal disease can progress and destroy gum tissue very rapidly. If left untreated, a large amount of gum tissue can be lost in a short period of time. Gum grafting can help halt tissue and bone loss; preventing further problems and protecting exposed roots from further decay.
During this procedure, Dr. Chang will take a piece of gum tissue from your palate or another donor source to cover the exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth to even your gum line and reduce sensitivity. There are different types of grafts that can be done: connective tissue grafting, gingival grafting and pedicle grafting. Your periodontist can tell you which graft best suits your situation.
Soft tissue grafts can cover exposed root surfaces to reduce plaque accumulation due to an uneven gum line, thus protect from new decay. It can also reduce tooth sensitivity by covering the exposed rot surfaces. An even gum line improves the aesthetics of your smile and allows you to speak and eat with comfort and confidence.
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Periodontics & Implant Center of McKinney
Dr. Paul P. Chang D.D.S., M.S.
-Board Certified Periodontist & Prosthodontist
Dr. Catherine Tatum D.D.S., M.S.
-Board Certified Periodontist
321 N. Central Expressway, Suite 101
(Inside of Prosperity Bank Building)
McKinney, TX 75070