When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense
against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a
problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.
When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains
and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home
care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the
mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.
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 can predispose to worsening recession and
expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries
and root gouging.
A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue
is taken from the roof of the mouth or gently moved over from adjacent
areas 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.
The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable
healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth