Gum (Gingival) Grafting

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 bone and the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary.If sufficient gingiva is not present, inflammation and infection are much more likely, leading to a greater risk for bone loss, root problems, and possibly tooth loss.

before and after gum grafting

In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold food and drink as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth. Gum recession can pre-dispose you to further recession particularly if signs of inflammation exist. Exposed root surfaces also increase your risk for cavities and root gouging.If orthodontics or fillings and crowns that extend below the gum line are planned, an evaluation of your gingival health is important since these treatments can worsen recession.

Gum Grafting Overview

For a brief narrated overview of the gum grafting process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about gum grafting.

Gum Grafting Overview

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A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is placed next to the tooth or implant to provide an increased amount of healthy gingiva in this area. The tissue may be taken from the roof of the mouth, from an adjacent site, or derived from commercially available processed tissue. In many cases, the gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover a large portion of the exposed root.

The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable healthy band of attached gingiva around the tooth. Recent advances in gingival grafting have led to a much more comfortable procedure with highly esthetic results.