Gum grafting is a procedure where tissue from the roof of the mouth or very nearby tissues is transplanted to cover exposed areas in the patient’s mouth. During a gum graft, a piece of bone and attached gums are lifted away from an area to be grafted; then, they are sutured into place. You can consult a Boca Raton periodontist to get the best result with gum grafting.
Who Needs Gum Grafts?
Gum grafting is often used to treat anesthetic-related premalignant lesions – cancers that have not yet appeared in the mouth but are beginning to show signs of growth. Patients who have had their gums removed in prior years or had their gums burned or damaged by exposure to radiation are also candidates for the procedure.
How Does Gum Grafting Work?
The patient’s surgeon chooses the tissue donor. The preferred donor site depends on where gum tissue is needed – if healthy tissue is available, it usually has to be taken somewhere else in the mouth. The surgeon prepares the donor site; then, the tissue is carefully cut away and trimmed before it is sutured into place to cover the exposed area.
Types of Gum Grafts
- Connective tissue grafts – Connective tissue is the name given to the type of tissue used during gum graft surgery. This type of tissue can be harvested from almost anywhere – including nose, ears, fingers, head, arms, and legs. The best donor site for a connective tissue graft will depend on what is being grafted – if healthy gums are needed to cover exposed areas in the mouth, then the bone must also be removed from the site to be grafted for the new tissues to stay in place.
- Free gingival grafts – Free gingival grafts are usually harvested from the roof of the mouth. The surgeon will cut out a piece of tissue to perform the procedure, then suture it in place. Free gingival grafts are often used to cover exposed areas in patients who have had their gums removed.
- Pedicle grafts – Pedicle grafts are one of the most common types of gum grafting procedures performed today. The process is done when enough healthy tissue remains in the roof of the mouth that can be removed and sutured into place to cover exposed areas in the patient’s mouth. Pedicle grafts are often used when there is no donor site tissue nearby for use in a free gum graft surgery.
The success of a gum grafting procedure depends on the type of graft and where it is performed. If done well, the patients will be pain-free for the rest of their lives.