When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.
When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.
In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth. When significant, gum recession can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root gouging.
There are 2 types of gingival grafts:
- Free gingival grafts ( the stamp technique)
- Connective tissue grafts ( the pita bread sandwich technique)
Both of these grafts provide a mechanical barrier against further recession and will be able to cover the exposed roots in most instances.
The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable, healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.