Gum Grafting

A gum graft (also known as a gingival graft), is a collective name for surgical periodontal procedures that aim to cover an exposed tooth root surface with grafted oral tissue or to thicken or augment existing gum tissue. Gum grafting is a common, and very predictable, periodontal procedure.

Common reasons for gum grafting:

  • Tooth sensitivity – When the tooth root becomes exposed, eating or drinking hot or cold foods can cause sensitivity of the teeth. Gum grafting surgery can reduce or eliminate exposure of the root surface, which may help reduce discomfort.
  • Improved appearance – Gum recession and root exposure can make the teeth look longer than normal. Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter and more symmetrical.
  • Improved gum health – Gum grafting can make the gums more resistant to future recession and to inflammation associated with plaque and tarter.

The most common types of gum grafting include:

  • Free gingival graft – This procedure is often used to thicken existing gum tissue. A strip of tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and relocated to the affected area.

Before

After

Gum Grafting - Before 1 Gum Grafting - After 1
  • Subepithelial connective tissue graft – This procedure is commonly used to cover exposed roots. Tissue is removed from the palate, using a small flap, and relocated to the site of gum recession.

Before

After

Gum Grafting - Before 3 Gum Grafting - After 3
Gum Grafting - Before 4 Gum Grafting - After 4
Gum Grafting - Before 5 Gum Grafting - After 5
Gum Grafting - Before 2 Gum Grafting - After 2
  • Pedicle graft – This type of graft involves sharing of gum tissue between the affected site and the adjacent gum. A flap of tissue is partially cut away and moved sideways to cover the root.
  • Acellular dermal matrix allograft – This procedure uses medically processed, donated human tissue as a tissue source for the graft.

What does gum grafting treatment involve?

The gum grafting procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic.

Initially, small incisions will be made at the recipient site to create a small pocket to accommodate the graft. The graft is then taken from the palate (or tissue bank) and placed at the recipient site. Sutures are placed to stabilize the graft. Surgical material is also often used to protect the surgical area during the first week of healing. Uniformity and healing of the gums will be achieved in approximately six weeks.