Board Certified Periodontist, Dr. Scott O. Kissel

Everything You Need to Know About Gum Grafting

Periodontist Dr. Kissel is proud to offer gum grafting surgery to his patients. This surgery has both medical and cosmetic benefits and treats receding gums, which can occur if you have periodontal disease or if you brush your teeth too hard.


If you have receding gum lines, you shouldn’t ignore them. Instead, you should see Dr. Kissel right away. Using microsurgery techniques, periodontist Dr. Kissel is able to provide an easier surgery for his patients, which makes it faster for them to heal.

What are the Warning Signs of Receding Gums?

If your smile looks very toothy and like you don’t have much gum, that could be a sign of gum recession. But there are other warning signs that patients should look out for, too. These include:


  • Having teeth that look longer, or noticing that the gums appear to be pulling away from the teeth
  • Noticing that you have a yellow edge where your teeth meet your gums
  • Feeling sensitivity to hot and/or cold foods and beverages at the gum line
  • Noticing the development of deep pockets of pus between your teeth
  • Seeing that you now have spaces between your teeth, when you didn’t have them before
  • Realizing you have a change in your bite, and that your teeth don’t fit together when your mouth is closed like they used to
  • Having teeth that are shifting or moving
  • Having gums that are swollen, tender to the touch, and bleed
  • Noticing that you have pus coming from your gums, or that you have bad breath that just won’t go away no matter what you try

All About the Gum Grafting Surgery

Periodontist Dr. Kissel can help you regain your beautiful smile and stop the medical side effects of receding gums through surgery. To do so, Dr. Kissel uses tissue from the roof of your mouth by utilizing microsurgery techniques. This surgery can help treat and prevent receding gums from bacteria overgrowth, which frequently causes:


  • Bacteria invasion
  • Erosion
  • Tooth decay
  • Loss of teeth


The surgery is also sometimes called soft tissue grafting or connective tissue grafts. The procedure not only provides cosmetic benefits but also treats the medical side effects of gum recession including further gum loss and bone tissue loss.


In Dr. Kissel’s periodontal office, he performs gum grafts by leveraging microsurgery techniques to obtain tissue from the roof of your mouth to place over your receded gums. The surgery results in the once exposed tooth root being covered again by soft tissue, allowing the gum to function properly. Surgery can also address cosmetic issues such as gray coloring of the gums, covering up crown margins, and thickening up the gum tissue that surrounds dental implants or crowns.

The Benefits of Using Microsurgery Techniques

Dr. Kissel uses microsurgery techniques during gum grafting surgeries because it makes the procedure easier to perform and allows patients to heal faster. It also makes the surgery less painful for patients – which is a huge plus for many patients. In fact, Dr. Kissel’s patients report that with microsurgery techniques, they experience less discomfort from the surgery and heal faster and without complications compared to patients who use traditional surgical instruments and techniques. Microsurgery significantly reduces the risk of complications since the better one can see, the more knowledge one acquires resulting in careful manipulation of tissues and critical anatomy.


Performing microsurgery means that Dr. Kissel uses micro-sized surgical instruments that are traditionally used in eye surgeries. To suture patients back up, he uses clear stitches that nobody else will notice. Gum grafting surgery performed with microsurgery doesn’t require telltale surgical dressing, either.


To numb patients and provide pain relief, Dr. Kissel uses Lidocaine on his patients. It takes about one hour to graft each tooth. The biggest inconvenience that patients report is not being able to chew at the surgical site for six to eight weeks after the procedure.


Side note from Dr. Kissel: I’m frequently asked about using donor tissue (Alloderm) instead of connective graft tissue acquired from the roof of the patient’s mouth. I used Alloderm in the past for many years on patients whose palates don’t have the anatomy conducive to obtain their own connective graft tissue. However, I find that Alloderm doesn’t have the long term benefits that patients need and deserve. The product doesn’t result in thicker tissue, and the amount of dense tissue is similar to how the patient presented before undergoing the surgery. All these findings are supported by periodontal literature. 

Pinhole Gum Grafting Technique

For some patients, Dr. Kissel also performs the pinhole technique. This procedure, which is minimally invasive, allows Dr. Kissel to treat gum recession without accessing tissue from the roof of the mouth.

If You Have Receding Gums, Call Dr. Kissel for Help

If your smile includes receding gum lines and exposed tooth roots, it’s time to take action.

Call Dr. Kissel to reclaim your beautiful smile, as well as prevent the risk for bacterial invasion and tooth loss. Untreated receding gums only cause more problems. Call Dr. Kissel’s office today at 212-702-9088 or contact us online and schedule your consultation today!