A gum graft is necessary for protecting your teeth from the damaging effects of gum recession, or you may elect to have one to improve the appearance of your smile.
Gum Tissue Graft: What Happens During the Procedure
There are three different types of gum grafts performed. Which type your dentist decides to use on you depends on your specific needs. The graft procedures include:
- Connective-tissue grafts. The most common method used to treat root exposure from gum recession. During the procedure, a flap of skin is cut from the palate and tissue from under the flap, called subepithelial connective tissue, is extracted and attached to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. After the graft has been removed from under the flap, the area is sewn shut.
- Free gingival grafts. Similar to a connective-tissue graft, free gingival grafts use tissue from the roof of the mouth. Instead of making a flap and removing tissue from underneath, a small amount of tissue is taken directly from the palate and then attached to the area being treated. This method is used most for patients with thin gums to begin with and require more tissue to enlarge the gums.
- Pedicle grafts. In this procedure, rather than taking tissue from the palate, it is taken from near the tooth needing repair. The flap, called a pedicle, is only partially cut away so one edge stays attached. The gum is then pulled to cover the exposed root and sewn shut. This procedure can only be done for people who have plenty of gum tissue near the tooth.
Some dentists and patients prefer to use graft material from a tissue bank. Sometimes, tissue-stimulating agents are used to encourage your body’s ability to reproduce bone and tissue.