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What is a gum graft?

A gum graft is a surgical procedure that consists of using tissue from either the patient's own mouth (this is most recommended), or synthetic tissue, and placing it where the roots of the teeth have been exposed by gum recession. Receding gums are commonly caused by periodontal disease. The dentist administers a local anaesthetic to the affected area. After the graft has been performed, a protective cover will be placed over the area, which will be removed a week or so later.

What is the purpose of a gum graft?

This technique reduces the risk of losing teeth and provides protection for the root. It also reduces sensitivity to heat changes in the mouth, when eating and drinking, and improves the appearance or aesthetics of the smile. After the operation, you may notice some discomfort in the gum or in the area from where the tissue was removed for grafting. This usually disappears within a week or two.

Types of gum graft:

The specialist will decide on the appropriate treatment for each particular case. The types of grafts include:

  • Connective tissue graft: This involves cutting a piece of tissue from the mouth and separating the subepithelial connective tissue so that it adheres to the gum surrounding the exposed tooth. The palatal tissue is then repositioned back into place.
  • Free gingival graft: In this case, a full layer of tissue is used. It is indicated for people with very thin gums, who require additional tissue.
  • Pediculated gingival graft: Tissue is taken from the gum surrounding the tooth that needs to be restored. The tissue is partially cut and then sewn. This technique is only suitable for people with a lot of gum around the tooth.

Results of a gum graft:

After covering the root of the tooth, it is then protected from the outside, thus reducing or eliminating excessive sensitivity, and the aesthetic appearance is also improved.