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What is gum grafting?

What is gum grafting?

Because many periodontal patients suffer from gum recession, gum grafting is a great go-to dental procedure to improve the appearance of the gums. Gum grafting can also 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 performed?

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 gum grafting can be done:

  • Subepithelial connective tissue graft (SECT graft)

Connective tissue grafting is a common method used by dental professionals. It’s easy to treat root exposure 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 choose 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 during the surgery. Your dentist will ultimately decide where the source of the tissue for the gum grafting will come from.

  • Pedicle graft

While the connective tissue graft requires 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.

Via a pedicle graft, a partial incision is first done on the gums. Then, the gum tissue is 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 where the gums need surgery.

  • 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.

How can I keep my gums healthy?

Healthy gums are important, not only to our oral health but also to general health. According to medical researchers, individuals with periodontal diseases are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections.

Take care of your gums by observing proper oral hygiene and not subjecting it to factors that can increase the likelihood of gum disease like smoking.

You can also consult your dentist for possible measures to achieve healthy gums.

Date Published: September 20, 2017

Last Updated: February 16, 2019


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