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Jenkintown Periodontics & Dental Implants
Neal B. Suway, DDS Juan Carlos Cabrera, DMD, MS
Dental Implants, Cosmetic and Laser Periodontics
Call: (215) 887-6060

Soft Tissue (Gum) Grafting

A gum graft (also known as a gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery), is a collective name for surgical periodontal procedures that aim to cover an exposed tooth root surface with grafted oral tissue.

Exposed tooth roots are usually the result of gingival recession due to periodontal disease.  There are other common causes, including overly aggressive brushing and trauma.

Here are some of the most common types of gum grafting:

  • Free gingival graft – This procedure is often used to thicken gum tissue.  A layer of tissue is removed from the palate and relocated to the area affected by gum recession.  Both sites will quickly heal without permanent damage.
  • Subepithelial connective tissue graft – This procedure is commonly used to cover exposed roots.  Tissue is removed fairly painlessly from the pouch made in the palate and relocated to the site of gum recession.
  • Acellular dermal matrix allograft – This procedure uses medically processed, donated human tissue as a tissue source for the graft.  The advantage of this is procedure is that there is no need for a donor site from the patient’s palate (and thus, less pain).
  • Pinhole® Surgical Technique for gum rejuvenation - This is a scalpel free, suture free technique that uses collagen to support the gum tissue through small pinholes created with special instruments.
     

Gum grafting is a common periodontal procedure.  Though the name might sound frightening, the procedure is commonly performed with excellent results.

Here are some of the major benefits associated with gum grafting:

  • Reduced sensitivity – When the tooth root becomes exposed, eating or drinking hot or cold foods can cause extreme sensitivity to the teeth.  Gum grafting surgery permanently covers the exposed root, helps reduce discomfort, and restores the good health of the gums.
  • Improved appearance – Periodontal disease is characterized by gum recession and inflammation.  Gum recession and root exposure can make the teeth look longer than normal and the smile to appear “toothy.”  Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter, more symmetrical and generally more pleasing to look at.  In addition, adjacent tissue can be enhanced and augmented during the procedure for aesthetic purposes.
  • Improved gum health – Periodontal disease can progress and destroy gum tissue very rapidly.  If left untreated, a large amount of gum tissue can be lost in a short period of time.  Gum grafting can help halt tissue and bone loss; preventing further problems and protecting exposed roots from further decay.

What does gum grafting treatment involve?

The gum grafting procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic, but anxious patients may opt for IV sedation . First, the teeth must be thoroughly cleaned to remove calculus (tartar) and bacteria. Small incisions will be made at the recipient site to create a small pouch to accommodate the graft.  Then the graft is inserted into the pouch.  Sutures are often placed to further stabilize the graft and to prevent any shifting. No chewing is allowed on the graft site for one to three weeks depending on healing.

If you have any questions about gum grafting, please feel free to call the office.

Jenkintown Periodontics & Dental Implants, LLC
Neal B. Suway, DDS - Juan Carlos Cabrera, DMD, MS
Dental Implants, Cosmetic and Laser Periodontics
261 Old York Road Suite 319
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Phone: (215) 887-6060

Convenient to Philadelphia, Abington, Willow Grove, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, Horsham, Warminster, and Hatboro