Grafts are done to increase the width of your gum tissue and cover an exposed root surface. An adequate band of gum tissue is necessary to protect the tooth from increased bacterial accumulation and inflammation. Inflammation can lead to bone loss and probably more gum recession. Also exposed root surfaces can lead to increased sensitivity and more susceptibility to decay. Treating gum recession in the front of your mouth will result in a more esthetically pleasing smile.
A graft is done by taking gum tissue from one part of your mouth, usually your palate (roof of your mouth) and transferring it to the area of your mouth that has gum recession. We can take gum from your palate without leaving a “hole” in the surgical area. The site where the graft is taken from and the site where the graft is placed is sutured to close these areas up tightly. A dressing is placed over both areas and will remain in place for as long as two weeks (or until it falls off). This procedure is done under local anesthesia (freezing) and is virtually painless. The only pain you may feel will be when the freezing comes out. There may be no pain afterwards but it is difficult to predict. It is possible that there may be some swelling or bruising for several days.
The graft area will be checked approximately two weeks after the procedure has been done to remove the dressing, if it is still there, and remove the sutures. This is not a painful procedure and it only takes a few minutes. The graft will be checked one last time approximately four weeks after the sutures have been removed. It is possible but very unlikely that there will be slight paresthesia in the palatal donor site.
We will always try to cover the entire exposed root, but in some cases it is not possible because of the size of the recession and the amount of adjacent blood supply. The success rate for grafts is very high.