Affecting 4% to 12% of adults, gum recession is a common dental problem, reported by WebMD, and is often unnoticed until it is severe. This is because the process by which gums recede, or pull away from teeth is a gradual one. Even so, as more and more tooth is exposed, individuals experience tooth sensitivity, particularly when eating certain foods. With time, gum recession can lead to bone damage, as well as periodontal (gum) disease and cavities. For this reason, dentists sometimes suggest gum grafting as a way to protect teeth.
To begin, gum grafting is a surgical technique that usually involves taking a small amount of tissue from another area (such as the palate) and stitching it to sections of the gums that need additional tissue. Though many are turned off by the idea of surgery, it’s important to understand that gum grafting is often necessary to protect and preserve a patient’s oral health. Even more important—gum grafting is an investment into a patient’s overall health and wellness.
Consider the following gum grafting techniques:
- Connective-tissue grafts: As the most common gum grafting method, this type of grafting treats root exposure, and involves cutting a small flap of skin from the roof of the mouth, and removing tissue from beneath the flap. Next, the tissue is connected or stitched to the area of gum tissue surrounding the exposed portion of the root.
- Free gingival graft: Like the connective-tissue graft, a small amount of skin tissue is taken from the palate, or roof of the mouth. Yet, tissue is not taken from underneath the flap. The cut portion is taken directly from the roof of the mouth and attached to a particular area of the gums.
- Pedicle grafts: For individuals with plenty of gum tissue near the tooth needing repair, pedicle grafting involves partially cutting a flap, or pedicle of tissue from a surrounding area and pulling it over or folding it down to cover an exposed root. It is then sewn into place.
Given the different gum grafting techniques, it is imperative to seek guidance and expertise from an experienced, trusted dentist or oral surgeon.
Dr. Leia Porcaro at Grateful Dental remains a Top Patient Rated Dentist in East Cobb, with extensive experience and insight into preventative, restorative and cosmetic dentistry for all ages. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, or if you’ve been told that you need a gum graft, feel free to contact Dr. Porcaro for the personalized care that you need and deserve.