Gum grafts are done to cover exposed roots due to recession or bone loss. Your periodontist takes gum tissue from the roof of your mouth or a donor and sutures it in place over the exposed root or roots if there is a larger area that needs to be treated. Gum recession happens gradually, and many people don’t realize how “toothy” their smile has become until their dentist or periodontist says something. Gum recession is a common dental problem and affects up to 12% of adults.
Gum grafts help reduce root sensitivity, decay, and further bone loss. They can also help prevent further gum recession. A pleasant benefit of a gum graft is the aesthetic effect on your smile. A healthy, new smile will emerge.
There are three different types of gum graft procedures, and your doctor will decide which is best for your situation.
A connective-tissue graft is the most common. A small flap of skin is cut in the roof of your mouth, and some tissue from underneath is removed and sutured over the area of recession. The flap is then put back in place and sutured down.
A free gingival graft is similar to a connective-tissue graft, except instead of a flap, a small amount of tissue is removed directly from the roof of your mouth. A healing, periodontal dressing is placed over the operation site on the roof of your mouth until the tissue regenerates.
Sometimes, instead of using tissue from your own mouth, graft material from a tissue bank is used. It depends on your individual needs, and your periodontist will help you decide which method works best for you.
Following your graft, you will get specific post-op instructions regarding home care. Don’t floss or brush the area unless directed by your dentist and use all rinses and medications your doctor prescribes.