Gingival (gum) Recession

Gingival tissue is very important for protecting teeth against bacteria and keeping the underlying bone from wearing down. When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost. In these cases, a soft tissue "gum" graft is recommended to restore this protection.

When this tissue wears down, or recedes, the tooth looses important protection and attachment.

There are many reasons this may happen:
  • Overaggressive brushing
  • Hereditary thin gum tissue
  • Damage from periodontal disease                                     
  • Dipping tobacco
  • Grinding of the teeth
  • Piercings in the lip or tongue that wear away gum tissue

Procedure

Dr. Shah will use local anesthesia to numb the area and keep you completely comfortable during the procedure. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth to provide a healthy band of tissue that will act as the "graft." In some cases donor tissue, called Allograft, can be used in place of your own. Finally, the graft material is stitched into place and a protective band-aid is placed over the area.

Long-Term Benefits

The #1 goal and benefit of a soft tissue "gum" graft is to restore the tooth's protection against harmful bacteria that can cause further recession and attachment loss around a tooth. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay, sensitivity, and improve esthetics. Whether you have a gum graft to improve function or esthetics, patients often receive the benefits of both: a beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health – your keys to smiling, eating and speaking with comfort and confidence.

Dr. Shah's Before & Afters

Severe gum recession and inflamed surrounding tissue.

Root coverage, gains in protective tissues, and reduced inflammation.

Severe gum recession and exposed roots, lack of pink/protective tissue, and severe cold sensitivity.

Complete root coverage, gains in protective tissue, NO cold sensitivity.

Severe gingival recession of the upper front teeth. Patient unhappy with esthetics of smile, stating teeth look "long".

Soft tissue graft has decreased the length of the teeth, creating a more harmonious and esthetic appearance.