If you have recently been diagnosed with gum disease, it is important to know the severity of your disease. If you are lucky, your gum disease was caught in the early stages. This mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is usually reversible with excellent at home oral care. Periodontitis is more severe, and typically gums are past the point of reversal with at home care. Your dentist or periodontist may schedule a root planing and scaling procedure. This, along with frequent professional cleanings, can keep the periodontitis from developing into severe periodontitis.
Unfortunately, many patients discover they have periodontal disease when cleaning and scaling are no longer as effective. This is often the case with patients who have severe periodontitis. Your periodontist will examine your teeth and gums, and based on the extent of the damage put together a plan for managing it. If you are diagnosed with severe periodontitis, gum surgery could alleviate and repair damage associated with gum disease.
Types of Gum Grafts:
A pedicle graft is a good option for people with a decent amount of healthy gum tissue surrounding or near the affected tooth. The periodontist will use gum tissue from the gums surrounding the teeth the cover the excess tooth. This is done by cutting into the gums, then stretching them over the exposed area. Once in place, the periodontist will sew the gums closed to protect the tooth root from further damage.
If a patient naturally has thin gums, a free gingival graft may be the procedure chosen by the periodontist. During a free gingival graft, a portion of the tough tissue on the roof of the mouth is used to repair the gums. This tissue is keratinized and much tougher than the layer underneath used for connective-tissue grafts. The goal of free gingival grafts are to prevent further recession of the gums around a tooth. Because the tissue is thicker, it is less ideal for the esthetic purpose of covering roots.
Connective-tissue grafts are the best choice for patients with gum recession who need to cover the gums for both cosmetic and discomfort purposes. Like a free gingival graft, the replacement gum tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth. However, this tissue comes from underneath the tough top layer and is thinner. The removed tissue is sewn into place over the exposed tooth root and will blend with your natural gums. This will give the patient the esthetic look they desire, as well as decreasing the amount of sensitivity the patient is experiencing.