Gum Grafting

Your gums are the framework for a healthy, beautiful smile. Gum recession is very prevalent in today's society and results not only in painful tooth sensitivity but teeth that appear quite long, cosmetically.

There is good news. You don’t have to compromise on your health or your smile. We specialize in advanced techniques that not only restore the health of your gums but also restore maximum confidence in your smile. Your smile is an expression of who you are, let it tell your story.

Gum grafts come in many forms, but usually involve the movement of gum tissue from one area of the mouth to another, to protect the root surfaces from decay or toothbrush abrasion, to prevent additional gum recession and/or to make the gums thicker and stronger around the teeth. We find that we can address most concerns with two types of gum graft procedures:

Free Gingival Graft
This is one of the oldest grafting procedures but is still widely applicable today. It usually involves taking a small piece of gum tissue from the roof of the mouth and placing it below the gum recession or thin gum tissue to create thicker, stronger gums. It does not usually cover the exposed root, but can allow the gumline to move back on its own, closer to where it belongs. We often find that we can use sites other than the roof of the mouth to obtain the needed gum tissue, which greatly reduces or often eliminates the post-surgical soreness that many people associate with this procedure.  There are a number of clinical parameters that help the periodontist determine if this is the type of gum graft needed or if the Connective Tissue Graft is a better alternative.

Connective Tissue Graft for Root Coverage
The connective tissue graft is relatively new as it was first described in 1986-87. Until then, it was very hard to establish a blood supply on an exposed root surface, so attempts to cover exposed roots often failed or produced less than optimal results. The connective tissue graft uses a small piece of gum tissue usually obtained from the gums on the roof of the mouth or from a donor tissue bank to create the needed blood supply. The donor gum tissue is placed under the existing gums and then the gums are stretched over the donor gum tissue to tuck it into place and cover the root. This will result in some thickening of the gums to help prevent the gum recession from recurring, but toothbrushing methods must also be gentle. As gum recession becomes more severe, a periodontist's ability to use this grafting procedure decreases and it can result in the need for a two step procedure which is usually not as cosmetically pleasing so early identification and referral to a periodontist for treatment of gum recession is encouraged.