3 Different Types Of Gum Grafts That Treat Gum Recession

Gum tissue can weaken and recede due to genetics or recurring periodontal disease. The receding gums risk exposing the sensitive tooth roots buried in the soft tissue. And receding gums can make you self-conscious about your smile. Gum tissue can't be regrown, but your general or cosmetic dentistry specialist can help fix the problem with a gum graft.

There are a few different types of gum grafts available depending on the location of the receded gums and the availability of graft tissue. Here are some options to discuss during your next visit to the dental office.

Subepithelial Connective Tissue Graft

A subepithelial connective tissue graft, or SETC graft, tends to use tissue from the roof of your mouth for the procedure. The type of tissue found in the roof of the mouth, or the hard palate, works particularly well for covering tooth roots that have already become partially exposed. That's because the palate tissue won't shrink as it heals, which could cause the graft tissue to again expose the roots.

For the graft tissue, your dentist will cut an opening into the hard palate to remove the tissue inside. After the graft is placed, this opening is stitched back closed.

Another benefit of a SETC graft is the fact that the palate is less sensitive than the gums. So removing tissue from the palate will result in less after-procedure soreness than some of the other graft methods. Due to this combination of reliability and low pain, SETC grafts are one of the most common types of grafts performed by dentists.

Free Gum Graft

A free gum graft also uses material from the roof of the mouth. But instead of using tissue from inside the palate, the free gum graft uses the tissue on the surface of the palate.

This type of graft works particularly well for gums that have yet to expose the roots but have still receded a great deal. The hard palate tissue can be used to build up the lowering and thinning tissue. Once the graft tissue and existing gums heal together, your gums should be higher and well above the roots.

Pedicle Gum Graft

Do you only have receding gums in certain areas of your mouth? The dentist might be able to perform a pedicle gum graft. A pedicle graft utilizes tissue from neighboring healthy gums to patch up the weakened area.

Your dentist will essentially cut away some healthy tissue so that it remains attached to its natural position but can bend over to cover the weak gums. This flap is then stitched into place and allowed to heal.

A pedicle gum graft is not a good choice if you have receding gums throughout your mouth. But this is a great way to patch up small weaknesses while leaving the other, more advanced graft methods available for when or if the gum recession worsens. For more information, talk to a professional like Pacific Ave Dental/Allan L. Hablutzel, DDS.