Gum Tissue Grafts

If you have receding gums, your dentist may recommend a gum tissue graft.  Receding gums exposes the roots of teeth, which increases their risk of decay, sensitivity, and abrasion.

What is a gum tissue graft?

A gum graft (also called a gingival graft) is a procedure that corrects gum recession and is performed by a periodontist.  

There are three types of gum grafts:

  1. free gingival grafts
  2. connective tissue grafts
  3. pedicle (lateral) grafts

Our dentist or periodontist will discuss the recommended option(s) with you.


What’s the process of gum tissue grafts?

To begin the procedure, a local anesthetic is applied to numb your gums.  The periodontist will then perform one of the following:

Free gingival graft – The periodontist removes a small piece of tissue from the roof of your mouth and sutures it to the target area requiring gum tissue.  You’ll likely get this form of grafting if your gums are thin and require extra tissue to prevent future recessions.

Connective tissue graft – The periodontist opens a small flap on the roof of your mouth and removes a piece of connective tissue from under the top layer of tissue.  They suture this to the target area requiring gum tissue.  This is the most common type of gum grafting.

Pedicle (lateral) graft – The periodontist opens a tissue flap from the area next to your receding gums and uses the flap to cover the area of the receding gum tissue.  The gum tissue is moved over the recession with local tissue rather than from another area of your mouth.  This is often the most successful grafting procedure.  In order to do this procedure, you will need enough gum tissue in the adjacent areas around your receding gums.

AlloDerm graft – The prosthodontist uses a donated material (not from your body) and places it into the necessary site.  This eliminates a second surgical site and is used to heal and restore the gums to the proper state.


Recovery from gum grafts

You’ll be able to go home after the procedure is complete.

During the first two weeks of recovery, eat soft foods to make sure you don’t damage the gum graft.

Recommended foods during recovery period:

  • Jell-O or gelatinous food
  • eggs (scrambled or soft-boiled)
  • yogurt and cottage cheese
  • cooked, soft vegetables

You should be fully healed from a gum graft procedure within a month (or more, depending on your overall health).

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.