What is a gum graft?
A gum graft or gingival graft, is a common surgical procedure that aims to correct the effects of gum recession by covering the exposed tooth root surface with a grafted tissue. The type of gum graft that we use will be determined by your individual needs and your personal preference.
Autogenic graft: Tissue is removed from the outer layer of the palate (free gingival graft) or from underneath the top layer of the palate (connective tissue graft) and relocated to the site of gum recession.
Allogeneic graft (Allograft): Involves the use of a prefabricated graft made of human tissue. It comes from, recognized tissue banks that sterilize and test these tissues for safety.
What is gum recession?
Gum recession also known as gingival recession or receding gums is a common dental condition and tends to increase with age. Most people do not know they suffer from it because it progresses gradually.The first manifestation is generally tooth sensitivity however you might suspect it if you notice that one of your teeth looks longer.
When gums become pushed back or wear away, more of the tooth’s root and/or crown gets exposed and this can cause damage to the supporting bone.
Gum recession may be associated with several factors including:
- periodontal disease
- aggressive tooth brushing
- inadequate oral hygiene
- hereditary or morphological factors such as a tooth position or a very thin gum
- teeth clenching or grinding
- use of tobacco products
- crooked teeth or a misaligned bite
- body piercing of a lip or tongue
The available treatments can repair your gums and prevent the progression of the condition.
How is a gum graft done?
The dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area. For a graft using your own tissue, the dentist will first remove the piece of tissue from the selected area in your mouth. Then the dentist will extend the tissue, or AlloDerm®(if that is the case), on the exposed part of your tooth and attach it with sutures to the area where your gums have worn away.
You’ll be able to go home shortly after the procedure is done.
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Benefits of gum grafting
- Reduces tooth sensitivity to heat and cold by permanently covering the exposed root with new gum.
- Reduces further recession and bone loss, preventing future problems and protecting the exposed roots from decay.
- Improves the appearance of your smile. Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter and more symmetrical. The adjacent tissue can also be enhanced for aesthetic purposes.