Gum recession is one of the most noticeable results of periodontal disease (gum disease) and is the movement of the gum line down the root of a tooth. Recession can be limited to one tooth or many, and symptoms vary from none at all to root sensitivity, inflammation of the tissues, root exposure, cavities, or aesthetic concerns. It’s important to have gum recession repaired because gum tissue is the primary barrier to bacteria. Without adequate gum tissue around the teeth, bacteria can cause gum disease, bone and gum deterioration, and even tooth loss.
Those who feel their teeth are too large or who are embarrassed by the amount of tooth showing can benefit from gum grafting procedures. Gum grafting can be used to lower the gum line to a more attractive level. Doing so will reduce the amount of tooth shown and increase the overall health of the teeth and gums.
Connective tissue grafts are the most common form of gum grafting. They are used to treat root exposure around one or more teeth. During the procedure, the dentist will cut a flap of skin (called a pedicle) from the roof of your mouth and remove tissue from under the flap. The flap is then stitched back down. The removed tissue will then be stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. Over time the attached tissue will grow together with the gum tissue already there, forming a higher gumline around the tooth. Free gingival grafts are similar to a connective-tissue graft except that instead of cutting a flap to remove tissue underneath, a small amount of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth then attached to the gum area being treated. This method is best for patients with naturally thin gums. With the pedicle grafts method, gum tissue is grafted from gum tissue around the tooth needing repair. In this method, the flap is partially cut away so that one edge remains attached. The flap is then pulled up (lower jaw) or down (upper jaw) to cover the exposed root and sewn in place. This method is preferred for patients with sufficient gum tissue near the tooth needing repair.