Gingival grafting is indicated when certain tissue is lost over time and needs to be replaced.
Losing this tissue is called "recession," and most of the time, this recession is caused by the “scrubbing“ technique patients often use when brushing their teeth. When one scrubs their teeth with a forceful back and forth motion, it becomes traumatic to the gum tissue in the mouth. Over time, this trauma causes the gum tissue to recede and the roots of the teeth become exposed.
Below is a Dental Health Partners patient who has very good oral hygiene but is also a scrubber when brushing:
Here is a patient who has advanced recession with the roots of the teeth becoming exposed.
In the picture below, the:
GREEN LINE is where the gum tissue should be
RED LINE is where gum tissue has receded
BLUE LINE shows the transition between the two tissue types.
Tissue type A can be thought of as resistant-to-wear tissue (similar to an asphalt road). As the food is pushed off the teeth during chewing, this tissue is very strong and deflects the food.
Tissue type B can be thought of tissue that is stretchy but not very resistant to wear (similar to a dirt road). Your lips are made from this type of tissue, which is why they are so stretchy.
The problem starts when recession becomes advanced and all of the tissue type A becomes absent. Because tissue type A is wear resistant and tissue type B is not, when a patient has lost all of type A tissue, the recession really accelerates. With this acceleration, the root of the tooth becomes exposed and the tooth becomes sensitive.
When the tissue recedes, so does the underlying bone that holds the tooth in the jaw.
Given enough time, the recession will get so bad the patient can lose their tooth.
Fortunately, we can treat recession with a soft tissue graft! The soft tissue graft is a relatively short procedure where we take tissue from the roof of your mouth and transplant it to regions of recession in your mouth.
After the soft tissue graft, tissue type A thickness is increased at the area where the recession was located. The root of the tooth is also almost completely covered by the graft.
If you are a scrubber when you brush your teeth, if you are noticing recession around your teeth, and if you notice sensitivity around your teeth, we can confidently restore your gum tissue back to normal.
We want to preserve your healthy gums for the rest of your life. If you would like to discuss gum grafting options, we will be happy to arrange a consultation with one of our doctors.