About Gingival Grafts (Gum Grafts)
A gingival graft — frequently called a ‘gum graft’ — is a generic term for a number of periodontal plastic surgery procedures involving tissue grafts. The primary reason for gingival grafts is to cover exposed tooth root surfaces. The exposed root surfaces can be the result of several factors. These include, but are not limited to the following:
– Aggressive tooth brushing
– Excessive occlusal/bite forces
– Use of tobacco products
– Genetic predisposition
– Poorly-fitting dental appliances
– Intraoral piercings
What are the negatives to having exposed tooth roots?
Exposed root surfaces can affect the comfort, aesthetic, and health of the patient. Exposed root surfaces are predisposed to thermal sensitivity, sugar sensitivity, tactile sensitivity, and root decay. Additionally, exposed roots can present an aesthetic compromise. Most importantly, exposed roots can lead to bone loss and tooth loss.
If left untreated, the tooth with greater exposure is also in danger of losing bone support. This is an unfortunate situation because over time the exposed tooth, or even the teeth surrounding your exposed tooth root, may be lost.
Can a gum graft be used to prevent further gum recession?
Yes. The outcome of soft tissue grafts is predictable, being highly successful in preventing further recession and bone loss. However, long-term success is absolutely dependent upon the patient’s compliance with Dr. McKenzie’s post-op instructions. Those instructions will include details on how to brush properly.
A Bite Force Analysis (TScan) may be taken to determine if any teeth are receiving undue force. This information is helpful in developing a protocol to reduce traumatic forces that may contribute to gingival recession.