Gum Grafting

Gum Grafting for Receding Gumlines

Gum recession can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, and aggressive brushing. When the gums recede, the roots of the teeth become exposed, which can lead to several problems, including:

Sensitivity: Exposed roots can be very sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet foods.

Appearance: A receding gum line can make the teeth appear longer and can affect the overall smile.

Loss of teeth: If gum recession is severe, it can lead to tooth loss.

Gum grafting can help to solve these problems by restoring the health and function of the gums. It can also improve the appearance of the smile and protect the teeth from further damage.

This surgical procedure involves transplanting healthy tissue from another part of the mouth to an area where the gums have receded. This is done to cover exposed roots, protect the teeth, and restore a natural appearance.

How is gum grafting done ?

Gum grafting is usually performed in a periodontist office under local anesthesia. Our periodontist will prepare the area where the graft will be taken and where it will be grafted. They will then carefully remove a piece of healthy tissue from the donor site and place it over the exposed roots. The graft will be stitched in place and the dentist will provide instructions for aftercare.

Here are the steps of a gum graft:

  1. 1. Anesthesia. The area to be treated will be numbed with local anesthesia.
  2. 2. Donor tissue harvesting. Tissue is harvested from another part of the mouth, such as the palate (roof of the mouth) or the gums around another tooth.
  3. 3. Recipient site preparation. The area where the graft will be placed is prepared by removing any diseased or unhealthy tissue.
  4. 4. Graft placement. The harvested tissue is placed over the exposed root and secured with sutures (stitches).
  5. 5. Post-operative care. The patient will be given instructions on how to care for the graft site, such as rinsing with salt water and avoiding strenuous activities.

Types of Gum Grafts

There are two main types of gum grafts:

Free gingival graft: This is the most common type of gum graft. It involves taking a piece of tissue from the palate and transplanting it to the area of gum recession.

Connective tissue graft: This type of graft uses connective tissue from the palate or gums themselves. It is often used when there is not enough tissue available from the palate.

What is recovery like ?

The recovery from gum grafting is typically very quick. Most people can return to their normal activities within a few days. However, it is important to follow instructions for aftercare, which may include rinsing with salt water and avoiding strenuous activities.

Here's a breakdown of what to expect during the recovery period:

Immediately After the Procedure:

You may experience some discomfort or sensitivity around the graft site.

The area may be slightly swollen and bruised.

Your dentist will apply a protective dressing to the graft site.

Days 1-3:

The dressing will be removed, and you'll be instructed to rinse your mouth with warm salt water.

Swelling and bruising may continue to subside.

You may experience some bleeding, but it should be minimal.

Avoid strenuous activity, spicy or acidic foods, and vigorous brushing in the area of the graft.

Days 4-7:

Swelling and bruising should be mostly gone.

The graft site may feel tight or itchy.

Continue rinsing your mouth with salt water twice daily.

You can start to reintroduce soft, non-acidic foods to your diet.

Days 7-14:

The graft should be firmly attached to the gums.

The gums may appear pale or slightly red.

Continue rinsing with salt water and avoiding strenuous activity.

You can gradually resume your normal diet but avoid hard or crunchy foods.

Beyond 2 Weeks:

The gums should gradually regain their natural color and texture.

Sensitivity and discomfort should subside.

You can return to your regular dental care routine.

Here are some additional tips for promoting healthy gum graft recovery:

Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Maintain good oral hygiene, including brushing twice daily and flossing once daily..

See your dentist for regular checkups to monitor the graft's progress.

If you experience any severe pain, excessive bleeding, or signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or warmth, contact our office immediately.

What are the benefits of gum grafting ?

Gum grafting can have several benefits, including:

Improved gum health: The graft will help to anchor the gums to the teeth and prevent further recession.

Reduced sensitivity: The graft will protect the exposed roots from temperature and pressure changes.

Improved aesthetics: The graft will restore a natural appearance to the smile.

Protection against tooth loss: The graft will help to keep the teeth stable and prevent them from loosening or falling out.

Is gum grafting covered by insurance ?

Whether or not gum grafting is covered by insurance depends on your specific insurance plan. Most dental plans will cover at least a portion of the cost of gum grafting if it is deemed medically necessary. However, some plans may only cover a portion of the cost, or they may not cover it at all.

Here are some factors that can affect whether your insurance will cover gum grafting:

The type of gum graft: Free gingival grafts are typically covered more often than connective tissue grafts.

The severity of the gum recession: If the gum recession is severe and there is a risk of tooth loss, then insurance is more likely to cover the procedure.

Your insurance plan: Some plans have more comprehensive coverage for periodontal procedures than others.

If you are considering gum grafting, it is important to check with your insurance provider to determine your coverage. You can also ask your dentist to help you file a pre-authorization form with your insurance company.

Contact Dental Implants & Periodontics of Boston

If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of gum recession, such as sensitivity, receding gums, or a change in the appearance of your smile, you should see our periodontist.

In some cases, gum recession can be prevented or reversed with treatment. Treatment options may include:

Professional cleanings and periodontal therapy: Your periodontist will remove plaque and tartar buildup, and they may prescribe antibiotics to treat periodontal disease.

Laser gum therapy: This is a non-surgical procedure that uses lasers to stimulate gum tissue growth.

Oral splints: These are devices that are worn at night to prevent teeth from grinding or clenching.

Gum grafts: This is a surgical procedure that involves transplanting tissue from another part of the mouth to the area of recession.

Dr. Sabra can diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment for gum recession to you during your consultation.

If you have questions about gum grafting or any other gum recession treatments, do not hesitate to contact our office at (617) 456-9714 to get your questions answered or schedule your consultation.


Meet the Doctor:
Daniel Sabra


Highly skilled periodontist, Dr. Sabra has performed more than 1,000 procedures for Boston area residents from same day dental implants to periodontal regeneration. Learn more about Dr. Sabra by visiting his bio.


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