Gum recession occurs when the tissue that surrounds the teeth recedes, exposing the root surface. Over time, an exposed root surface can cause sensitivity and if it progresses further while left untreated, may lead to tooth loss. To avoid this and repair the damages caused by receding gums, a gum graft may be required.
Three different types of gum grafts currently exist. The type your dentist at Voyageur Dental in Orleans chooses to use will depend on your specific situation.
The three graft types include:
- Connective tissue graft: The most common method used to treat gum recession. It is the choice used when we wish to cover receded gums that are in esthetic areas of the mouth. A small flap is raised on the roof of the mouth, and a layer of tissue underneath the flap, called subepithelial connective tissue, is harvested and then placed at the prepared site of recession. The gums and graft are then stitched into place. The site on the palate is then flapped back into place and stitched down.
- Free gingival grafts: Similar to connective-tissue grafts, free gingival grafts also require the use of tissues from the roof of your mouth. However, instead of making an incision and removing required tissues from under the flap, the full thickness of tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth and then attached to the gum area being treated. This method is effective for people who have thinner gums and is best used in non-esthetic areas where root coverage is not the goal, but decreasing the likelihood of further recession by increasing the amount of hard gum tissue, or keratinized tissue, around the tooth is the objective.
- Pedicle grafts: This graft type does not require harvesting tissues from the palate. Instead, tissues are grafted from the gums adjacent to the tooth needing coverage. A flap, called a pedicle, is partially cut away so that one edge remains attached. The gum is then manipulated into position in order to cover the exposed root and is then sewn into place. This procedure is only effective for people who have an adequate thickness of gum tissue near the tooth to be covered.