Tooth recession is the loss of the gum surrounding the tooth (“attached gingival”). Recession occurs for various reasons and the result is a disturbance of structure and function, sensitivity, more susceptible area for decay to develop and in extreme cases tooth loss. Gingival (gum) grafting is a surgical procedure to correct gum recession by replacing the lost tissue and covering the exposed root. Gum grafts can be used to cover roots or develop absent gum tissue due to excessive gingival recession. A gum graft can reduce further recession and bone loss. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay. This may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve esthetics of your smile. During your gum graft surgery, gum tissue from a donor source is used to cover the exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth to even your gum line and reduce sensitivity.
There are three basic sources of donor graft materials; xenograft, autograft and allograft.
Xenograft is a processed graft material from an animal source (pig or cow) processed in a laboratory.
Autograft is tissue donated, or moved, from the patient’s own mouth. The technique of free gingival grafting, takes tissue, usually from the roof of the mouth, and moves it to replace the recessed area in the mouth.
Allograft is human donor skin processed in a lab and is used for connective tissue grafting and is designed to eliminate rejection. Allograft has been successfully used in dental, plastic and reconstructive surgeries. Allograft is safe, predictable, effective and offers several benefits. The most appealing benefit to most of our patients is it allows the ability to limit the surgical area; with no cutting on the roof of the mouth, which makes healing more comfortable. In addition, when allogaft is used Dr. Murphy is able to treat more extensive areas with one donor application versus a larger or multiple donations from the roof of your mouth.
All allograft and xenograft materials are processed to remove all blood cells, and are meticulously cleaned and sterilized and rested according FDA regulations, then extensively screened and tested to eliminate any possibility of rejection or disease transmission.