Gum grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue when absent due to gingival recession and bone loss. Gum grafts can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay, which reduces tooth sensitivity and improves the esthetics of the smile.
Why Gum Grafts?
Gum recession is the process in which the margin of the tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away in a direction toward the end of the root, which further exposes the tooth. Receding gums may be one of the first signs of gum disease. When gum recession occurs, pockets, or gaps, form between the teeth and gum line, make it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be severely damaged, and may ultimately result in tooth loss.
Surgical Gum Grafts
A gingival or gum grafts includes a number of surgical periodontal procedures that all aim to utilize oral tissues to cover an area of exposed tooth root surfaces. The periodontist take control of surgical gum grafts. The procedure begins with a local anesthetic that will be given to numb the areas involved. Patients who experience extreme anxiety may receive medication to help them relax prior to surgery.
Types of Gum Grafts:
Connective-tissue gum grafts
This is the most common method used to treat root exposure. During the procedure, a flap of skin (pedicle) is cut at the roof of your mouth, and tissue from under the flap is removed and then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. The connective tissue, or graft, that has been removed from under the flap, and then it is stitched back down to the palate.
Free gingival gum grafts
Also involves the use of tissue from the roof of the mouth, but instead takes a small amount of tissue directly from the palate. This tissue is then attached to the gum area being treated. This method is used most often in people who have thin gums to begin with and need additional tissue to enlarge the gums.
Pedicle gum grafts
Instead of taking tissue from the palate, it is grafted from gum around or near the tooth needing repair. The flap is only partially cut away so that one edge remains attached. The gum is then pulled over or down to cover the exposed root and sewn into place. This procedure can only be done in people who have plenty of gum tissue near the tooth.
Some dentists and patients prefer to use graft material from a tissue bank instead of from the roof of the mouth. Sometimes tissue-stimulating proteins are used to encourage your body’s natural ability to grow bone and tissue. Your dentist can tell you which method will work best for you.
What Are The Benefits?
A gum graft can reduce further recession and bone loss. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay.
Whether to improve function or esthetics, patients often receive the benefits of both: a beautiful smile and improved periodontal health!