Gum Graft & Gum Recession Surgery
When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. Recession thins the thicker, non-movable tissue that is naturally around the necks of the teeth. As the area recedes, root is exposed. The root is softer and more susceptible to decay and abrasion or notching. If a patient has any gum recession problems, gum reconstruction using various techniques is an option.
When there is only minor recession, and some healthy gingiva often remains to protects the root, no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the border of the thin movable tissue called mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost and the attached gingiva is no longer present. Additionally, it is harder to reach this area and keep it clean, further worsening the situation.
In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth. When significant, gum recession is predisposed to worsening recession and exposes the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root abrasion.
If there is not sufficient tissue that can be re-positioned, thin piece of native or donor tissue is gently placed to provide a stable band of attached gingiva around the tooth. The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root. There are two basic categories of “Gum Grafts”, including grafts “on top” and grafts “underneath”.
Soft Tissue Grafts (Grafts “On Top”)
Sometimes it is necessary to increase or augment the band of the tissue around the neck of a tooth, called attached gingiva. The area may be associated with some recession on the tooth, as well as a thinning of the band of attached gingiva. Grafted tissue can be added to the surface of the area. During the procedure, a thin piece of tissue gently removed from an adjacent area is transplanted to the area where it is needed. This tissue will attach and provide a stable band around the tooth. While the gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to fortify the tissue band. Many times the recession that was present can be eliminated or reduced at the same time.
The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.
Often thin gum tissue is associated with recession, root exposure and root abrasion. The thinness of the tissue makes it susceptible to further root exposure. This will help guard against further recession and will reduce root sensitivity to cold. During the procedure, the donor tissue is placed under the existing tissue, through a small tunnel. This thickens the existing tissue and allows the tissue to be advanced and to cover the root exposure.
Dr. Greggory Wilde, Periodontist at Lowell Street Dental Implant and Surgical Center in Silverdale, WA
Serving the Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap County & Jefferson County communities including Silverdale, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Port Angeles, Poulsbo, Sequim & Port Orchard WA Serving Silverdale, Bremerton, Port Orchard, WA