Gum Grafting

With our micro techniques gum grafting treatment is more precise, less invasive & esthetically superior.

Gum Recession Photo- Dr. Kissel Periodontist New York City

Before Gum Graft ~ Gum Recssion

Just as skin creates a sterile environment that protects our bones from bacteria and harm, gum tissue protects the bone in the mouth.  Gum recession occurs when the dense gum tissue barrier is broken leaving a small wound where bacteria can enter the bloodstream as well as leave the teeth vulnerable to bacterial invasion, erosion and root decay.  Without a gum graft procedure, gum recession is irreversible & will continue to exacerbate.

After Gum Graft ~ Increased Tissue & Root Coverage ~ Dr Kissel NYC

After Gum Graft ~ Increased Tissue & Root Coverage

Fortunately gum grafting (aka Soft Tissue Grafting or Connective Tissue Grafts) repairs the receding gum area to prevent further bone loss and recession and also to improve cosmetics of your smile. The procedure involves taking a piece of gum tissue from the roof of the mouth and placing it underneath existing gum tissue, covering the exposed tooth root while re-sealing the mucosa to once again protecting the tooth. Connective tissue grafts can also eliminate pigmentation of the gums, cover up crown margins (the black line visible when gums recede), thicken the gum tissue surrounding implants and crowns.

Before Gum Graft ~ Gray Pigmentation & Recession

Before Gum Graft ~ Gray Pigmentation & Recession

When using microscopic techniques and proper micro surgical training and skills, patients claim to have little to no discomfort.  The gums heal quickly and without complications (traditional instruments and techniques can lead to significant discomfort, complications and delayed healing). Dr. Kissel uses instruments that are used in eye surgery and clear stitches that will be invisible to others.  No dressing material is necessary.
Some of the factors which may contribute to recession of the gums are an off bite, where the tooth is ill-positioned in the jaw bone, tooth brush abrasion, poorly shaped posts/crowns and periodontal disease.

After Gum Graft ~ Gray Hue Eliminated-Crown margin covered

After Gum Graft ~ Gray Hue Eliminated-Crown margin covered

Common Symptoms of Receding Gums May Include:

  • Teeth look longer or gums appear to be pulling back from the teeth
  • Yellow edge at the margin of the tooth where it meets the gum
  • Hot & cold sensitivity at the gum line
  • Deep pockets of gum forming in between the teeth
  • See or feel spaces between the teeth developing
  • Change in the way the teeth come together while biting
  • Teeth shifting or moving
  • Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath or pus from the gums

The Gum Graft Procedure is performed using the anesthetic Lidocaine and micro stitches and takes about 1.5 hrs to complete each tooth. The greatest inconvenience afterwards is that one cannot chew on the graft site for 6-8 weeks.

Side note from Dr. Kissel: I am often asked about using donor tissue (Alloderm) instead of a connective tissue graft.  For many years I used this product when the anatomy of the palate was not conducive to obtaining a soft tissue graft.  I have found that the material has little long term benefit.  I does not result in thicker tissue and the amount of dense tissue is similar to how the patient originally presented.  These findings have recently been supported in the periodontal literature.


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