A gum graft also known as a gingival graft, is the correct name for surgical periodontal procedure that is aimed at thickening gum tissue.
Exposed tooth root can be a result of aggressive brushing, trauma and or periodontal disease.
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 (roof of mouth) 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 in an attempt to cover exposed roots. Tissue is removed from under a flap of gum and relocated to the site of gum recession.
· Acellular dermal matrix allograft- This procedure uses a medically processed, donated human tissue source for the graft. The advantage of this material is that there is no need for a donor site from the patient’s palate.
Reasons for gum grafting
Here are some of the major benefits associated with gum grafting:
· Help prevent tooth loss- If your gums are receding from the teeth, you may be able to see the root of the tooth because the gum is no longer covering all of it. Having this procedure can stop the recession from continuing; it can also help prevent you from losing some of the bone and losing the tooth.
· Reducing sensitivity- When the tooth root becomes exposed, eating or drinking hot or cold foods can cause extreme sensitivity to the teeth. Gum grafting helps reduce discomfort and restores the good health of the gums.
· Improved appearance- 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.
What does gum grafting treatment involve?
Once the need for gum grafting has been determined, an impression (mold) is taken of the upper jaw to allow for a clear tray to be made that will be worn after the procedure. The purpose of this appliance is to protect and cover the donor site on the palate (roof of mouth). This appliance will be worn after the procedure for approximately 1-2 weeks depending on your healing. The gum graft procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic and some form of sedative as desired. Sutures are placed to stabilize the graft and to prevent any shifting of the graft. Periodontal pack (putty) is used to protect the surgical area during the first week of healing. Uniformity and healing of the gums will be achieved in approximately 4-6 weeks. Post-operative discomfort is variable, but usually can be relieved with over the counter or prescribed medications.