Gum Grafting Burlington WA

Connective Tissue Grafting

A gum graft (or gingival graft), is an umbrella term for surgical periodontal procedures that aim to cover certain exposed tooth roots with oral tissue.

When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a problem, an option is gum reconstruction using grafting techniques.


Here are some of the most common types of gum grafting:

  • Free gingival graft – This procedure is often used to make the gums thicken. A thin layer of tissue is removed from the palate and placed on the area affected by gum recession. Both areas will quickly heal without permanent damage.
  • Subepithelial connective tissue graft – This procedure is used to cover exposed roots. Tissue is removed fairly painlessly from the outer layer of the palate and placed on the area of gum recession.
  • Acellular dermal matrix allograft – This procedure uses medical grade, donated human tissue as a source for the graft. The advantage of this procedure is that there is no need to take a graft from the patient’s own palate resulting in less pain.

Reasons for gum grafting

Gum grafting is a common periodontal procedure. Though it may sound frightening, the procedure is often performed with excellent results.

Here are a few major benefits with gum grafting:

  • Reduced sensitivity – as the graft closes around the exposed parts of the roots, drinking hot and cold beverages and foods with discomfort is once again reduced while restoring the good health of the gums.
  • Improved appearance – Periodontal disease is characterized by gum recession and inflammation – not a pretty sight. Gum recession can make the teeth look unnaturally long, as well as posing health threats to the teeth. Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter and more symmetrical with their neighbors, making them more pleasing to look at.
  • Improved gum health – The obvious major benefit of gum grafting is overall improved gum health. Gum grafting can help stop tissue and bone loss, preventing further periodontal problems, and money, in the future.

When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.

Gum recession often results in root sensitivity to sweets and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth/ teeth. When significant, gum recession can predispose to increasing recession and exposure of the root surface, leading to root caries and root erosion.

A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth or gently moved over from adjacent teeth 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.

The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable, healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.