Gum Graft on Teeth

Tino Mercado
A/Prof Tino Mercado

Gum Graft on Teeth

Gum recession is when the gum around the teeth had receded exposing the roots of the affected teeth.

Causes of receded gums on teeth:

  • Aggressive, hard, and improper toothbrushing.
  • Infection of gums or gum disease
  • Inherited thin gum can make someone more prone to receded gums.
  • Improper positioning of teeth.
Fig. 12A Receded Gums on two upper front teeth

Main reason why patients need gum graft on teeth:

  • Very sensitive exposed roots of teeth.
  • Cosmetic issue associated with receded gums.
  • Very thin progressive gum recession.
  • Prevention of decay on the exposed roots of teeth.

Gum grafting on teeth is a periodontal surgical procedure where the patient’s own gum is repositioned upward (Figure 12A-12B) or if the gum is thin or receded (Figure C), extra gum can be harvested from the roof of the mouth.

Fig. 12B Gum lifted up to improve the receded gums and cover the exposed roots.

The harvested gum graft is sutured or tied up on the exposed root surfaces to cover the receded or exposed roots of the teeth (Figure 12D). There is also a relatively new technique where a collagen graft, usually derivative from porcine (xenograft), manufactured by a dental company is used to cover the root surface.

Fig 12C Receded gum on tooth

This is to avoid the harvesting of gum from the roof of the mouth, producing less surgical pain after the procedure. The predictability of this “out of the packet gum graft” is still being investigated as there is limited research available when compared to the patients’ harvested gum.

Fig 12D. Gum graft sutured on exposed root

Use of Emdogain or Enamel Matrix Derivative (EMD) with the Gum graft.

A product derived from “tooth protein” of minipigs available commercially in a syringe that can be used with the gum graft surgery. There are some studies that show the addition of EMD with gum graft can produce a thicker gum and minimise post-surgical pain. The used of this product can be discussed with the treating doctor to find out if there is an advantage on using this product in each individual case.

Fig 12E. Receded Gum covered and healed after 4 months