When recession of the gum occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma.
Typically gum recession is not due to an infection, but is due to a lack of protective gum around the teeth. Since the gum lays directly over the bone support of the tooth, every millimeter of gum loss results in the equivalent loss to the underlying, supporting bone. Gum recession is a serious problem when there is tooth sensitivity, compromised esthetics, or when recession progresses due to lack of protective tissue. When gum recession is a problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is often required.
When there is only minor recession, some healthy gum often remains and protects the tooth, so that no other treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession progresses beyond the protective gum, into the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost. Recession and the resultant underlying bone loss can jeopardize long term tooth survival, and in some cases lead to tooth loss.
A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of protective tissue is taken from the palate, just inside of the upper teeth, and transplanted to the site of recession. The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable, healthy band of protective tissue around the tooth. In areas of root sensitivity or cosmetic concern, the root of the tooth is covered for optimal esthetics. Gingival grafts offer a cosmetic solution to exposed roots while providing stable, healthy protective gum around the tooth. We make every effort to make this a positive experience. We have several levels of sedation available to help make you comfortable during your surgery. Please visit our Patient Gallery to see more examples of gum grafting.