Thanks to modern-day research, gum grafting has been discovered and is today being successfully used for periodontal patients.
Because many periodontal patients suffer from gum recession, gum grafting is a great go-to dental procedure to improve the appearance of the gums and to reduce the symptoms of gum disease.
If you have receding or damaged gums from periodontal disease, it’s vital to know how exactly gum grafting is done.
How is gum grafting preformed?
Gum grafting, even though it is a surgical procedure, is not as painful or as scary as some patients believe it would be. There are actually three different ways in which gum grafting can be done, as shown by the following (Your dentist will let you know which procedure works best for you and your circumstance):
Step 1: Subepithelial connective tissue graft (SECT graft)
Connective tissue grafting is a common method used by dental professionals. Root exposure can easily be treated through this technique. With this gum graft, dentists will cut a sliver of skin on the roof of your mouth in order to remove the subepithelial connective tissue found underneath.
Then, the connective tissue is stitched onto the root-exposed gum tissue. The connective tissue graft combines the pedicle graft and the free gingival graft methods described below.
It’s important to note that sometimes dentists will chose to use tissue found in a tissue bank if the patient doesn’t have sufficient tissue on the roof of their mouth for the procedure. However, some professionals may provide patients specific proteins designed to stimulate tissue growth for the surgery. Your dentist will ultimately decide where the source of the tissue for the gum grafting will come from.
Step 2: Pedicle graft
While the connective tissue graft uses tissue found underneath the roof of the mouth, or the palate, the pedicle graft instead takes advantage of gum tissue near the area of the mouth where the surgery is to be done. A partial incision is done on the gums, and the gum tissue is then pulled over the area that contains the receding or exposed gums and is stitched, whereas the connective tissue graft completely removes the tissue from the palate and restitches where necessary.
Because only one place in the mouth has to be cut and stitched through the pedicle graft procedure, unlike in connective tissue grafting, this method is typically easier to heal from and is less painful post-surgery. However, the pedicle graft method can only be used on patients who have sufficient gum tissue in the surrounding areas of the where the gums need surgery.
Step 3: Free gingival graft
Very similar to connective tissue grafting, free gingival grafting uses tissue from the palate. Instead of cutting a sliver of skin on the roof of the mouth and using the tissue found underneath the skin, free gingival grafting instead simply takes the very top layer of tissue found on the roof of the mouth.
Once cut, the tissue is stitched onto the necessary area of the gums. Free gingival grafting is a method also likely to be used on patients who need gum enlargement surgery for their thin gums.
As mentioned, some dentists may even use tissue from a tissue bank instead of the roof of the patient’s mouth.