A gum graft may be necessary to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of gum recession, and to improve the appearance of your smile. Gum recession is the process in which the tissue that surrounds the teeth pulls away from a tooth, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth's root. This can cause damage to supporting bone. Gum recession is a common dental problem. But most of the times, people don't even notice that their gums have receded, because it is a gradual process. Over time, an exposed tooth root can not only look ugly, but can cause tooth sensitivity, especially when eating cold or hot foods. Eventually, gum recession, if not treated, can cause tooth loss. To repair the damage & prevent further dental problems, a gum tissue graft may be needed.
Different types of gum tissue grafts are typically performed. Which type your dentist uses on you will depend on your specific needs. The graft procedures include:
1). Connective Tissue Grafts During the procedure, a flap of skin is cut at the roof of your mouth (palate) & tissue from under the flap, called subepithelial connective tissue, is removed and then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. After the connective tissue the graft has been removed from under the palatal flap, the flap is stitched back down.
2). Free Gingival Grafts Free gingival grafts involve the use of tissue from the roof of the mouth. But instead of making a flap & removing tissue under the top layer of flesh, small amount of tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth and then attached to the gum area being treated. This way is used most often in people who have thin gums to begin with & need additional tissue to enlarge the gums.
3). Pedicle Grafts Instead of taking tissue from the palate, grafted from gum around or near the tooth needing repair. The flap, called a pedicle, is only partially cut away so that one edge remains attached. The gum is then pulled over or down to cover the exposed root & sewn into place. This can only be done in people who have adequate gum tissue near the tooth.