Gingival grafting can be performed to restore a sufficient amount of gum around the teeth or around exposed tooth root surfaces caused by gingival recession. The dental health professionals who are qualified for this type of transplant are general dentists (for simple cases) and periodontists (for more complex cases).
Several techniques are used to perform gum grafts:
- The free autogenous gingival graft: This is the oldest gingival graft technique. It involves taking the graft from the patient’s palate and relocating it where there is gingival recession. The result of this method is less aesthetic than that obtained with other methods. It is not recommended to use this type of grafting when the tooth roots should be covered because this technique only stops the progression of gingival recession minimally. However, the advantage of this technique is the absence of risk of graft rejection, because it is taken from the mouth of the patient.
- Connective tissue graft (root coverage grafting with connective tissue): This is a relatively new and versatile technique. The connective tissue is taken from under the gum surface of the patient’s palate and is inserted at the area of gum recession. Its main benefits are the very aesthetic results and the ability to cover exposed roots. With this type of transplant, the patient cannot reject the graft because it comes from tissue taken from his mouth.
- Allogeneic gum graft (allograft): this type of transplant is relatively recent. A graft from an external donor, who has been treated and is very safe, is located in the gingiva of another patient. The main advantage of an allograft is that there is only a single surgical site because the graft is not taken from the patient’s palate. It also gives results that are as aesthetic as the connective tissue graft. However, there is a low risk of transplant rejection.
The gum transplant success rate is very high. The beneficial effects of these grafts persist for many years although a little less for smokers.