Team photograph of Dr Axelrad & staff

Gum grafts…an explanation

Posted on by Dr. Robert Axelrad (Brampton Dentist)

Gum Graft

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I’m going to cover the topic of gum grafting in two blogs. The first will discuss what a gum graft is and what the procedure entails and the second will look at the causes of gum recession i.e., why we need to do a graft.

What is a gum graft?
This is a procedure to get the ‘gum’ or gingiva back, which is not present anymore.

What exactly does this mean?
Every tooth needs a certain amount of gum called ‘attached gingiva’, in order to be considered healthy. The reason for this is that there is a ‘zone’ of attached gum which prevents bacteria and food particles from entering along the side of the tooth, which can lead to an infection and subsequent tooth loss. It’s not an easy concept to understand, but for our purposes, all you need to know is that each tooth needs to have a certain amount of ‘attached’ gum associated with it, and when this ‘specialized’ gum is missing, the tooth is in a compromised state.

How is a gum graft done?
The details of the procedure are not for the faint of heart, so I’ll keep the description short and sweet.

There are two sites: a donor and a recipient site.

The recipient site is where the graft is needed. It is a tooth with advanced recession (see blog: Let’s get to the root of the problem-part 1), to the point that it is missing the necessary amount of attached gum that is needed for optimal health.

The donor site is where we take the gum from and it is the palate or roof of the mouth. The gum here is the perfect type that is needed. For you keeners, it is better known as ‘keratinized ‘gum tissue.

This in a nutshell, is what the concept of a graft is all about.

Please Note: If you look at the image to the above left, you may notice that the teeth look longer.  The reason for this is that the gums have receded and the roots of the teeth are now showing… resulting in recession of the gums.

In the next entry, we’ll look at the various ‘causes’ of gum recession and why a graft may be necessary.

Are your gums receding? Do you suffer from gum pain or gum disease?  We can help.  Call us today (905) 791-3867 or e-mail us to book an appointment.

About Dr. Axelrad
Practicing dentistry for more than 23 years, Dr. Robert Axelrad has owned and managed his own dental practice since 1997.  He moved his practice to its current, state-of-the-art dental office in Brampton, Ontario in 2002 to accommodate his growing list of happy patients.

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