When recession of the gingiva (gums) occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacteria and trauma. When gum recession becomes problematic, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.
When only minor recession is present, sufficient healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no surgical treatment 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 temperature changes as well as an longer tooth appearance or shade discrepancy. Gum recession can also predispose to increasing/accelerating recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, increasing risk of root cavities and wear.
before and after gum grafting
A gingival graft is designed to address these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth or gently moved over from adjacent areas to provide a stable band of attached gingiva around the tooth. The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root or simply add attached gingiva to prevent further recession.
The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable, healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.