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Soft Tissue Grafts or “Gum Grafts”

Periodontal disease not only leads to the development of pockets and bone loss, but it can also cause the gums to recede, uncovering the tooth roots. When the soft tissue covering the roots is lost, the tooth becomes more susceptible to decay, sensitivity, and further bone loss. Additionally, gum recession negatively affects the aesthetics of a smile. Having exposed root structure due to gum recession can diminish the appeal of a wide smile. While gum disease often contributes to gum recession, habits like aggressive tooth brushing can also erode the gum tissue. To address the issues caused by receding gums, dentists can perform a gum graft procedure, also known as a “gingival graft” or “soft tissue graft.” This procedure involves replacing the soft tissue over the exposed area of the tooth. The dentist can obtain gum tissue for grafting from a nearby site in the mouth or from another donor source. A gum graft can be performed on a single tooth or multiple teeth, depending on the specific requirements of the case. The type of gum graft employed will be determined by the dentist.

There are three distinct categories of gum grafts, which encompass the subsequent variations:

A gingival graft, also known as a gum graft, is performed by taking a small piece of tissue from the palate in order to address gum recession and enhance the thickness of the tissues. This procedure is typically recommended when there is a need for additional tissue to prevent further recession.

Another commonly used graft is the connective tissue graft, which involves harvesting tissue from the sub-layer of connective tissue located beneath the top layer of tissue on the roof of the mouth. This type of graft is often performed to restore gum tissue that has been lost.

Alternatively, a pedicle graft can be utilized, wherein a flap of adjacent tissue is used to create the graft. This approach is beneficial when addressing gum recession in specific areas.

After undergoing a gum graft procedure, the dentist will provide detailed instructions for post-operative care. Additionally, follow-up appointments will be scheduled to ensure proper healing of the surgical site and to assess the success of the grafting process.