If your tooth roots have become exposed due to gum recession then you may well need a gum graft. This is a procedure for covering up the exposed tooth roots, protecting them against the damaging effects of receding gums. There are three methods for covering up exposed tooth roots and we will use the best gum grafting technique for your particular circumstances. The three techniques that can be used include connective tissue grafts, pedicle grafts and free gingival grafts.
Connective Tissue GraftThis is the most frequently used type of graft and involves making an incision in the roof of your mouth to create a flap of skin. Subepithelial connective tissue is removed from underneath the flap and is then sutured onto the gums, covering up the exposed tooth root. The flap in the roof of your mouth is then stitched back down.
Pedicle GraftThe type of graft uses tissue from near the gum needing repair. During this procedure a flap which is called a pedicle is partially cut away from the gums but one edge remains attached. The gum is then pulled across to cover the exposed tooth root before being stitched into place. A pedicle graft is only suitable for people who have plenty of gum tissue near the affected tooth.
Free Gingival GraftA free gingival graft uses tissue from the roof of the mouth but the tissue is taken directly from the surface of the palate rather than being removed from underneath a tissue flap. The tissue is then attached to the gum being treated. This type of graft is most commonly used for people who already have thin gum tissue and who require additional tissue to build up the area. It may not always be necessary to use tissue from an area in your mouth as sometimes we can use tissue stimulating proteins that help encourage your body to grow new tissue cells. Most people will find the recovery process after a gum graft pretty uneventful and you should have minimal discomfort. If the gum graft was taken from the roof of your mouth then it may feel a little more uncomfortable. Your mouth should return to normal within a week or two and you should be able to resume everyday activities the day after surgery.