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Comparison of before and after tissue graft surgery on gums of the mouth.

After gingival recession 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 the gum disease is minor, some healthy gingiva often covers the exposed root to protect the tooth, so that no treatment other than proper oral hygiene and modifying home care practices is necessary.

However, when recession reaches the mucosa, causing exposed tooth root, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.

In addition, a periodontal disease often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the tissue from the roof. When significant, receding gums can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root gouging.

A gum graft called a gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the mouth or gently moved over from adjacent areas to reduce sensitivity and provide a stable band of attached gingiva around the tooth. The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed root.

The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable, healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.