The recession of the gums not only affects the aesthetics of your smile, but it can also have a negative impact on the stability of the teeth or on the possible discomfort that can result from showing a greater amount of tooth surface.

In case a patient acknowledges this retraction, the most appropriate treatment is a gum graft.

In this article, we will tell you what this procedure consists of, what care you should take into account after having submitted to it and what benefits it has for your mouth.

Why are the gums retracted?

The gums play a fundamental role for the health and functionality of our mouth : they serve as support for the dental pieces and, in addition, protect the root of the tooth from the action of pathogens and external stimuli.

However, its stability can be compromised by a series of causes, such as:

  • Periodontal disease -gingivitis or periodontitis-, which attacks the supporting tissues of the mouth.
  • A too aggressive brushing
  • Bad habits such as, for example, smoking

In addition, other factors must be taken into account, such as hormonal processes – gum health is more sensitive during pregnancy – or a more advanced age.

Gum recession involves a loss of tissue around the tooth , gradually exposing a greater amount of tooth surface.

In the most advanced cases, this retraction may have its reach in the bone on which the pieces are supported, causing dental mobility and affecting the stability of the same.

Due precisely to the gradualness of this process, the patient is not conscious until this recession is in a more advanced state . That is, when this involves certain discomforts such as, for example, a greater tooth sensitivity or compromises the aesthetics of the smile-a greater amount of tooth surface is shown.

Given this situation of gingival recession, the performance of a gum graft will be indicated.

What is a gum graft?

It is a microsurgery whose objective is to recover the damaged gum and avoid the possible future problems that could arise from this retraction.

How is a gum graft done?

Gum grafting is a minimally invasive surgical technique. It consists in the taking of soft tissue -generally from the palate of the patient itself- that, subsequently, the surgeon will place in the area where the tooth or implant has been left without protection.

Depending on the degree of severity of the recession and the state of the patient’s gums, we can distinguish three different types of graft .

Types of gum graft

It will be the surgeon who, after evaluating the state of the gums, determines the need to approach the procedure in one way or another.

The pediculated gingival graft consists in the extraction of tissue from the area of ​​the gum next to the unprotected tooth. This tissue sample, known as a pedicle, is partially cut and sewn into the area adjacent to the affected piece.

However, sometimes there is not enough mass in the gums to perform this type of intervention. It is then when the surgeon resorts to the tissue present in the palate .

Within the techniques that resort to the extraction of the mass present in this area, we can distinguish two types of graft:

  • On the one hand, the connective tissue graft consists in the separation and selection of subepithelial tissue to protect the damaged area. On the contrary, the rest of the sample taken will be reintroduced in its place of origin.
  • On the other hand, the free gingival graft takes part of the palatal tissue to place it, in its entirety, in the area to be repaired. This procedure is common in those cases in which the patient needs to increase the thickness and, therefore, the consistency of the gums.

Finally, in those occasions in which the mass can not be taken from any of the two areas mentioned above, the specialist may resort to a tissue bank .

Is it painful to have a gum graft?

The gum graft is a minimally invasive technique that is performed under local anesthesia, so that its effect mitigates any discomfort that the patient may suffer during treatment. Therefore, we can say that the gum graft, as such, does not hurt .

But, also, for those patients suffering from odontophobia – fear of the dentist – at Ferrus&Bratos we offer you the choice of the conscious sedation system .

Thanks to the same, the patient will remain in a state of partial consciousness during the entire treatment, avoiding any possible feeling of anxiety that could suffer during the intervention.

However, throughout the healing process it is possible that the patient feels slight discomfort or acknowledges the appearance of small traumatisms, whose incidence will be reduced provided that it respects the guidelines of the specialist.

Tips to follow during the postoperative period of the gum graft

If you have recently had a gum graft, or are going to do it in the near future, this interests you.

Our team of surgeons affirms that there is a series of recommendations that, following them the days after the intervention, have a very favorable repercussion at the time of mitigating the discomforts and avoiding possible complications. Some of them are the following:

  • Use the anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by the specialist who has addressed your case to relieve postoperative discomfort. Generally, this shot is advised during the 3 or 4 days after the intervention.
  • Apply ice in the area during the 4 or 5 hours after surgery to reduce inflammation of the area and prevent the occurrence of possible trauma.
  • Avoid the practice of sports or activities that involve any type of physical effort during the week following the operation, so that you can not suffer a blow to the area.
  • Include in your diet soft foods and, generally, tempered or cold . Do not consume those that may involve a chewing effort.
  • Follow correct oral hygiene routines . In the 15 days following the procedure, you can rinse with chlorhexidine. Remember that you must do them in a delicate way so as not to compromise the stability of the graft performed.
  • Avoid the consumption of tobacco . Smoking notably hampers the healing process.


What benefits does the gum graft have for your mouth?

The gum graft involves minimal risks and discomfort compared to the benefits it can have for the health of your mouth.

First, this procedure covers the root of the tooth-or implant-that has been exposed. In this way, it again has the natural protection offered by the gum against dental plaque and bacteria, improving dental health.

For this reason, we can say that it prevents the affection of caries and the advance of periodontal diseases . You must bear in mind that these are motivated by the action of the bacterial plaque, generally due to a little exhaustive brushing.

The plaque tends to accumulate, in addition, in the area that presents this retraction, because we incidimos less in the brushing -produces greater discomfort and, sometimes, bleeding-.

The gum graft is the brake to advance the loss of tissue , and reduces the chances of suffering in future dental mobility or the loss of any of the pieces.

In addition, by protecting an area of ​​the tooth that was previously exposed to foreign stimuli, reduces the discomfort derived from tooth sensitivity .

Finally, you should not forget that the gum graft is also performed for aesthetic purposes . Thanks to it, the initial beauty of the smile is recovered, maintaining harmony with the rest of the gum.

If you have any questions regarding this procedure or would like to request an appointment with our specialists so that they can assess your case in the clinic, we invite you to call us. We are waiting for you!

Dr Akash Sachdeva

M.D.S., Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon .His main interest is in the field of Implantology, which...

Dr Pooja Sachdeva

Dr. Pooja Sachdeva is a Consultant Oral and Dental Surgeon. She has pursued his Bachelor in Dental...