Gum Graft

(Sub-epithelial Connective Tissue Grafts)

When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a problem, reconstruction using a gum graft procedure is an option. When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.

In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth. When significant, gum recession can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root gouging.

                                                Before & After Gum Grafting
Before Gum Graft  After Gum Graft

Risk Factors for the Progression of Recession when tissues are thin include:

  • Tooth brush abrasion
  • Biting overload (which can occur from grinding or clenching your teeth)
  • Increased functional load (teeth which support bridges or partial dentures)
  • Planned orthodontic therapy
  • Sensitive exposed roots
  • Root exposure with a high smile line (aesthetic concerns)

Ill fitting restorations under the gum line which are too deep violating gum attachments (biologic width)

In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as a “long in the tooth” appearance to the smile. Gum recession can also predispose the area to root decay as the root surface is softer than enamel.

A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from under the “skin” of the roof of the mouth. You may have a stitch or two in the roof of your mouth, but, the roof of your mouth is not “exposed or raw” as with past techniques for grafting. This new technique greatly diminishes post operative discomfort. The stable band of attached tissue is placed around the tooth in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root and to establish tough tissue for longevity of the tooth.

After having a gum graft procedure, most of Dr. Primm’s patients will be back to their normal routines one day after the procedure. Post operative discomfort is usually minimal.

                             Before & After Connective Tissue Grafting
gum graft  gum graft

This patient has root exposure making the teeth look long and pointed at the top. The root then recovered with connective tissue grafting, restoring the normal appearance.