Gum grafting is the process of taking gum tissue from another area in the mouth and attaching
it to places where gum tissue is lacking, such as in areas where gum recession has occurred.
Since gum recession is a symptom of gum disease, if left untreated, it can progress to expose
the tooth roots and cause severe tooth sensitivity.
What types of gum grafts are commonly done and what can you expect from this procedure?
Connective Tissue Gum Graft
For this gum graft procedure, a flap of skin is removed from the roof of your mouth in order for
your periodontist—a gum specialist—to access the connective tissue underneath. Once the
connective tissue is removed, it’s attached to the gum tissue where a tooth root is exposed.
Your oral surgeon will reattach the flap of skin removed from the roof of your mouth once the
connective tissue is used. After this, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s instructions for healing.
Free Gingival Gum Graft
Similarly to a connective tissue gum graft, tissue from the roof of the mouth is still used, but
there isn’t a need to access the connective tissue. In this procedure, the flap of skin that’s
removed will be placed directly on the affected gum tissue.
People who qualify from this procedure typically have thin or weak gum tissue and will need
this flap of skin to supplement and strengthen the existing gum tissue in addition to covering
the exposed tooth root.
Pedicle Gum Graft
During a pedicle gum graft, gum tissue is actually removed near the tooth that needs the graft.
Only people who have enough existing gum tissue near the affected tooth are candidates for
this gum grafting procedure.
For a pedicle gum graft, only part of the gum tissue is cut while the other part remains
attached. The gum tissue is then pulled over the exposed root to cover and protect it and is
then attached into place.
What to Expect During a Gum Graft
The name gum graft is worse than it sounds, as the procedure is relatively simple. Local
anesthesia will be used unless you arrange otherwise before the procedure. The procedure
itself typically doesn’t take much time, and you’ll be able to return to your normal activities the
Your oral surgeon may provide you with a list of suggested foods for the next week or two while
your mouth heals. Typically, softer foods are suggested and can help facilitate faster healing of
your gum tissue. Full recovery time can be expected in approximately two weeks. Be sure to
follow any instructions your doctor gives you for after the procedure!
Only a professional dentist or periodontist can tell you if you need a gum graft. Typically, gum
grafts are reserved for people who have experienced gum disease and gum recession as a
result. Since gum recession can be unsightly and painful, gum grafts can help many people to
regain healthy gum tissue and protect their tooth roots!