Gum Tissue Grafting

Gum Tissue Grafting San Diego . Orange County . Los Angeles

A lot of people are told that they need gum grafting by their dentist. But, worry not; gum surgery may not be as scary as it sounds! Such surgeries are sometimes necessary to treat receding gums and their damaging effects. You may also need gum grafts if you wish to improve your smile.

The recession of gums occurs when the gum tissue around the teeth gets detached from the tooth, exposing the root surface leading to loss of bone height. This causes the tooth to loosen and other gum problems may occur. This condition is more common than it seems as it goes unnoticed being a gradual process. Gum recession affects around 12% of adults. When a root surface gets exposed, it may cause several problems like sensitivity to hot and cold, including susceptibility to dental decay, and an unaesthetic smile.

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Gum tissue grafting is the procedure recommended by dentists to treat gum recessions. So what exactly happens during a gum grafting surgery?

Your dentist uses a gum tissue graft to repair the receded portion of your gums. Gums grafts may be of 3 types, based on your individual needs :

  • Connective-tissue grafts- Connective grafts are the most commonly used grafts. In this grafting method, the dentist surgically removes a small piece of gum tissue from under the top layer of the roof (palate) of your mouth, known as subepithelial connective tissue. This is then placed on the defected gum of the tooth and sutured to hold it in place.

  • Free gingival grafts- This technique is employed in people with thin gums. In this procedure, instead of the subepithelial connective tissue (the tissue under the top layer under the flap), a small piece of gum is directly incised from the roof of your mouth.

  • Pedicle grafts- In this procedure, the gum tissue is incised from the region around the tooth to be repaired using a pedicle flap. This flap is cut in such a way that it remains partially attached. This pedicle flap is pulled over the exposed surface of the tooth.

Your dentist may also use graft material from any tissue bank if deemed necessary. Specific tissue stimulating proteins may be needed to stimulate the natural healing process of your body.

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The gum grafting procedure is an outpatient surgical procedure; hence you can go home immediately after the procedure. The procedure will be performed under local anesthesia or sedation. It is advisable to have someone accompany you to the dentist’s office to drive you home. You will be provided post-operative instructions regarding your diet, activities, and what medicines to take. You may return to work and resume your routine activities the next day following the procedure. You may refrain from flossing or brushing the gums on that particular area until it has healed completely. You might be prescribed medicated mouthwash to rinse your mouth to prevent infections and keep your teeth plaque-free. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to decrease the chances of infection. You will be advised to be on a soft and cold diet for 1-2 weeks after the procedure. There may be slight pain and swelling in the gums for a few days after the procedure, but it is normal and should subside within a couple of days. Over-the-counter pain meds may help reduce the pain and swelling. The gums may take 1-2 weeks to heal completely.

If you experience these symptoms after the surgery, you should call your doctor :

  • Uncontrolled bleeding from the gums even after application of pressure for 20mins.

  • Unusual pain, bruising, or swelling which fails to subside.


Gum grafting is an efficient method of repairing gum defects caused by recession preventing further damage. However, there may be a chance of developing gingival problems even after the surgery, in rare cases. Therefore, it is vital to remain under constant follow-up with your dentist and maintain a healthy oral hygiene and care at home as recommended. Other ways to prevent severe damage to your gums are:

  • Brushing twice daily with fluoridated tooth paste and floss every day.

  • Using a medicated mouth rinse twice a day.

  • Regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning.

  • A balanced diet and plenty of water.

  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol use.


If you're interested in learning more about Gum Grafts, call our office at All Natural Dentistry to book a consultation with Dr.Amy Khajavi.

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