A gingival graft, also called gum graft, is a procedure that covers exposed tooth root using grafted oral tissue from other regions of the mouth. Your teeth are surrounded by pink gingival and mucosa tissue. The tissue forms a barrier to protect the tooth from bacteria and the gingival acts as protection during certain things such as eating and brushing your teeth. If the gingival and tissue start to recede, it can expose tooth root and a gum graft might have to be done.
A free gingival graft extracts a layer of tissue from the palate and is relocated to the site of gum recession. Sutures hold it in place to protect the exposed root. The area of the extracted donor tissue will heal on its own without any damage. This type of gingival graft is also used to increase the thickness of very thin gums.
Another type of graft takes tissue from underneath healthy gum tissue in the palate. This is called sub epithelial connective tissue graft. This procedure has an excellent predictability of root coverage and less pain associated with the donor tissue site.
An acellular dermal matrix graft uses donated human skin that has been medically processed. There is no need for an actual donor site within the patients’ mouth. This is done when tissue cannot be extracted from another area of the mouth.
A lateral pedicle graft takes tissue adjacent to the damaged or receding gingival area. This can only be done if the surrounding tissue has not been affected by the damaged tissue area. The transplant tissue is cut away and rotated over the damaged area but increases the risk for more recession in the donor area.