Is excessive gum recession and exposure of the gums affecting your oral health and your smile? Then your dentist may recommend a procedure called gum grafting. Although the name of this procedure might sound scary, gum grafting procedures are safe and painless – and they are routinely performed by periodontists throughout the world.
What is Gum Grafting?
In a gum grafting procedure, your dentist will place a small amount of soft tissue -taken from another site in your body – to restore the normal height and appearance of the gums. This procedure is typically recommended by periodontists for two purposes; to prevent further gum recession, and to restore facial aesthetics.
What are Different Types of Gum Grafts?
Depending on the underlying problem and the severity of the condition, your dentist may choose from different types of gum grafts:
- Connective Tissue Gum Grafts – this is the most commonly used grafting procedure, often used to treat one or more teeth affected with gum recession. In this procedure, your dentist will raise a tissue flap over the roof of your mouth and extract the underlying tissue. This tissue will then be placed over the regions where the gum tissue is deficient, and then sutured to the gum tissue that surrounds the exposed root.
- Free Gingival Grafts – these are similar to the connective tissue grafts – except your dentist will directly take the graft from the floor of the mouth without raising a flap. Free grafts are used where existing gum tissue is very thin.
- Pedicle Grafts – in this grafting procedure, your dentist will not take tissue from the palate. Instead, the tissue is grafted from the gum tissue around the exposed root. Your dentist will raise a flap, called the pellicle, pull the gum tissue over the exposed root surface, and then suture it to its new position.
When is a Gum Graft Needed?
You may need a gum graft if you have any of the following problems:
- Gum recession
- Cavities on root surfaces
- Sensitivity due to root exposure
- When facial aesthetics are affected due to insufficient gum exposure – making the teeth appear excessively longer.
Preventing gum recession is not only more convenient, but also much less costly than seeking treatment afterward. You can easily prevent gum recession by maintaining optimal oral hygiene, visiting your dentist regularly, and more importantly, by not using excessive force while brushing your teeth.
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