When gum recession occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma to the exposed root surface. When gum recession is a problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.
When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth. 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. This can make the tooth significantly more susceptible to further recession, exaggerated sensitivity to hot or cold, root wear, bone loss and pocket formation. This can eventually result in tooth loss.
In addition, gum recession often results in the unsightly appearance of a longer and more yellow tooth root, which can make a normally pleasing smile less attractive.
A soft tissue graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from under the roof of the mouth or gently moved over from adjacent areas to provide a stable band of attached gingival (thicker, protective, gum-like tissue) around the tooth. See before and after photos below
Donor tissue can be used in many instances. This tissue is safe and avoids using the palate as a donor site. Either graft may be placed in such a way as to cover all or part of the exposed portion of the root. See before and after photos below
The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable, resistant, healthy band of gum tissue around the tooth. The new tissue provides resistance to more recession and blends nicely with the adjacent gum tissues.