Gum Graft: Everything You Need to Know

Gum graft is otherwise called GINGIVAL, involves carefully placing a small amount of new tissue in an area where little or no gum tissue currently exist. Gum grafting is surgery done on people to prevent further gum recession or to cover root surface of ones teeth that has been exposed, this is usually done by a dentist. successful graft can reduce or eliminate problems like tooth sensitivity and further gum recession and also improve the aesthetic of a person’s smile. Gum grafting is performed by a gum specialist called PERIODONTIST.

It’s the recommended course of treatment for receding gums to avoid exposing the teeth’ root surface that leads to decay and sensitivity. Gum grafts help to reverse adverse effects and restore gums’ health so that they can maintain their protective seal around the teeth.   

In gum grafting, a piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth or nearby healthy gum is harvested and attached where the gum tissue has receded. Most importantly, it’s a fast two-part procedure that requires using existing healthy tissue already in your body  to correct issues and protect the rest of your smile against further damages.

Gum graft can reverse the adverse effects of damages and restore the gum to an  healthy one. The success of gum grafting depends on the right grafting procedure, preparation, and recovery which is wholly dependent on an experienced periodontist. 


Gum grafting techniques are of different kinds  designed to address specific periodontal concerns and is usually recommended based on the degree of gum recession, the extent to which the cheek can pull on the surgical site during daily activities, and whether or not the patient gum have receded in between the teeth or just on the front surface.     

Gum graft surgeries involves harvesting a donor tissue from another part of the mouth and attaching it where the gums have receded and their differences lies on how the surgery is  done including the expected results after healing. periodontist usually  walk patient through each of the gum grafting techniques and recommends a suitable type based on a patient specific case and oral health history.

Below are the methods of gum grafting surgery and there include:

1. Connective Tissue Graft: This requires opening a small flap otherwise called a “trap door” at the roof of a patients mouth, the periodontist then uses the trap door to find and remove a piece of connective tissue underneath which is then stitched on the spot where the  gum has receded.  Connective tissue grafting  is the most common technique  used by periodontists.

2. Free Gingival Graft: Compared to the “trap door” technique, free gingival graft also removes a small piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth. The only difference is that the tissue to be used is always from the top layer of the palate and grafted onto the area that needs more gum tissue due to thinning. Free gingival graft prevents further recession by taking a piece of gum tissue from one place and grafting it onto another.

3. Pedicle Graft: This method involves grafting tissue harvested closer to the site of recession using a flap. The flap covers the receding gum tissue. It essentially involves using tissue that is already local to the problem area, rather than another part of the mouth, like the roof. Pedicle gum grafting is usually the most successful because it does not cut off blood flow in the tissues involved. It  only requires that the patient has a lot of healthy gum tissue surrounding the receding area  perhaps less than ideal when the recession is already wide.

4. Alternative Grafts: Gum grafting is not always possible In  cases where many gums have receded, or when a periodontist has to cover the gum area of upwards of five teeth so an alternative graft may be recommended. Many receded gum requires harvesting a sizable portion of the palate tissue, which is always unsafe. Alternatively, cadaver or porcine (harvested from pigs) grafts are used to ensure full coverage of the receded areas of such patient.

Recovery and Care After Gum Graft

Just like any dental procedure, the long-term success of gum grafting is in the crucial recovery period so It’s important to follow the recovery care instructions to avoid complications and there are as follows:

1. Take all prescribed medications such as antibiotics and painkillers for fast healing and recovery as instructed by the periodontists.

2. Avoid eating food that requires strong chewing rather  go for soft, cold foods like scrambled or soft-boiled eggs, yogurt, cooked vegetables, cottage cheese, ice cream, and gelatin to avoid damaging the graft. 

3. Completely avoid hard and hot foods that can burn or irritate the graft since you  won’t be allowed to brush or floss the graft area to avoid disrupting the healing, such as opening the wound, which can lead to an infection since the periodontist will recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash to remove plaque buildup and prevent infections in the meantime and also inform the patient when it’s safe to resume brushing and other activities usually after  two-week of gum grafting.

Note: It is important to maintain good oral hygiene during this period

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