Gum Recession & Tissue Grafting

When gum recession occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma.  Your gums may have receded for a variety of reasons, including periodontal disease, tooth grinding, agressive toothbrushing or anatomical issues in tooth position or tissue amounts. You may not be in control of what caused the recession, but prior to treatment, Dr. Crum can help you identify the factors contributing to the problem. Gum grafting will cover the exposed roots to protect them from decay, help reduce tooth sensitivity, and improve the aesthetics of your smile. Whether it is to improve function or aesthetics, gum grafting is highly predictable and results in a stable, healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.

Do you have gum recession?

Gum recession does not happen overnight. You may not even notice that your gums have receded, as it is a very slow, gradual process. However, without a gum tissue graft, recession can have a detrimental effect on the health and function of your teeth. When recession occurs you may notice:

  • You have sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, or even to sweet, spicy, or sour foods
  • Your teeth appear longer than normal
  • Spaces between your teeth seem to grow
  • The roots of your teeth begin to show

Gum Tissue Grafting

When you come to our office for your grafting procedure, a local anesthetic will be given to numb the areas involved.  Depending on your specific needs Dr. Crum will perform one of two different types of gum tissue grafts.

Many factors will contribute to your chosen grafting technique. Dr. Crum will  tell you which method will work best for you, your health, and your smile.

  • Connective tissue grafts – The most common method to treat root exposure, connective tissue grafting involves your periodontist cutting a flap of skin on the roof of your mouth (or palate) and removing tissue from under the flap, called sub-epithelial connective tissue. This tissue is then stitched under the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. After the connective tissue, or graft, has been removed from under the flap, the flap is then stitched back down.
  • Free gingival grafts – Similar to a connective tissue graft, a free gingival graft involves the use of tissue from the roof of the mouth. But instead of making a flap and removing tissue under the top layer, a thin layer of tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth and then attached to the gum area being treated. This method is used most often in people who have thin gums to begin with and need additional tissue to enlarge the gums.

With both types of grafting, an impression will be taken of your upper teeth at the beginning of the surgery appointment.  From that impression, we will make a special appliance called a palatal stent that you will wear following the procedure for the first 24 hours.  This appliance covers the palatal wound and greatly reduces discomfort.  You may continue wearing the stent beyond the 24 hours for your comfort.