Gum Grafting & Braces
In areas with very thin gum a graft is needed to prevent recession from occurring. Also when we have a strong pull from the tissue fibers from the inner mucosa of the cheeks or floor of the mouth, a gum graft eliminates their pulling force preventing recession.
There are two types of gum tissue next to our teeth:
The attached band that is in contact with the teeth is a firm, non-mobile band, which resist normal daily forces of brushing, flossing and chewing. This band of tissue is firmly attached to the bone surrounding our teeth. Below the attached gum there is the mucosa; a mobile, highly vascularized and darker pink tissue which is not meant to resist the forces of daily brushing, flossing and chewing but instead is in charge of providing vascularity to the attached gum. With its elastic fibers it permits facial expressions and speech.
When we don’t have the skin tissue-like band around our teeth but we are left with a thin, see-through mobile tissue/mucosa. Forces that are normal can be very traumatizing to the gum therefore leading to inflammation and recession.
A gum graft allows us to create or improve the quality and quantity of tissue needed for normal function (brushing, flossing and chewing).
When coverage of the roots is needed a root coverage procedure is indicated.
Gum recession is the loss of gum/soft tissue around teeth. When the gum recedes the bone recedes, which is the actual support of the tooth. The main objective of gum grafting is to restore as ideal as possible the quantity and quality of gum tissue and to protect the bone.
When recession of the gingiva/gum occurs and reaches the mucosa, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold as well as touch. The long appearance of the tooth as result of the recession creates an imbalance in the harmony of the teeth and gums. Gum recession can predispose to worsening recession. The exposed root surface, which is softer than enamel can lead to root caries and root gouging.
When gum recession is present, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is indicated.
A gingival/gum graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth or other areas (donor tissue is an option) and gently moved over the affected site to provide a stable band of attached gingiva around the tooth. The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root.
Gingival graft procedures are highly predictable and result in a stable, healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth / teeth.