A Comprehensive Guide to Gum Grafting
I believe you will find my guide to gum grafting to be comprehensive and informative.
In this guide, I will share with you my knowledge, experience, and treatment examples that relate to gum grafting.
My name is Dr. Rana Shahi, DDS, MS, MSD, and owner of LA Periodontics & Implant Specialists --- which is one of the leading periodontal centers in Los Angeles and Brentwood, California.
So if you're searching to learn as much as you can about a gum graft, I hope that you will my guide to be of value.
DR. RANA G. SHAHI, DDS, MS, MSD
Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology
What Is A Gum Graft?
A gum graft is a surgical procedure, usually performed by a periodontist, to correct gum recession. In the most common type of gum graft, a piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the patient’s mouth or a tissue bank and adhered to the receded area of the tooth and attached to the existing gum. The goal is to cover the receded area of the tooth, so it is no longer exposed and further recession doesn’t occur.
There a few different types of gum grafts, depending on the patient’s needs. If the patient has thin gums, a periodontist might perform a free gingival graft. In this procedure, a periodontist will cut out a piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth and transfer it to the exposed root of the tooth, stitching it to the existing gums. This is a better option for those with thin gums and was actually the earliest type of gum graft surgery performed by periodontists.
In 1985, Dr. Burton Langer developed the connective-tissue graft. This procedure uses tissue from the roof of the patient’s mouth to perform the graft. A flap of tissue is cut into the palate and tissue from beneath the flap called subepithelial connective tissue is removed and then stitched into the gums surrounding the affected area where the gum has receded. Today, this is the most commonly practiced gum graft procedure.
A pedicle graft might be performed if the patient has plenty of gum near the receded area. The periodontist will use the existing gum tissue above the receded area. By cutting a flap, known as a pedicle, into the gums, a periodontist can simply pull down the existing gum to cover the exposed area of the tooth’s root.
A patient can get a gum graft on just one tooth or there entire mouth, depending on where the gum recession is. The goal for any gum graft is for the graft to be successful, meaning the transferred tissue adheres to the new surface. A patient will need to visit his periodontist for follow up visits to make sure the graft is adhering correctly.
Gum recession is the No. 1 cause of tooth loss, which is why it needs to be treated as early as possible. Even though many people don’t even notice when their gums are receding, a dentist will be able to detect gum recession with regular visits. If you’re concerned you may have receding gums, make an appointment with your dentist. He or she will be able to refer you to a periodontist for a gum graft if needed.
While gum recession is the most common reason for getting a gum graft, some patients choose to get a gum graft to correct an uneven smile line. For this reason, periodontists are known as the plastic surgeons of dentistry.