Gum grafting, also known as a gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery, is a surgical procedure to reverse gum recession. Gum recession exposes the roots of teeth, which can lead to sensitivity and put teeth at a higher risk of damage or disease due to the loosening of their attachment within the gums and bones of the jaw. Should gum recession continue, bone and keratinized tissue will be at a greater risk of being damaged and permanently lost around the teeth. The aim of a gum graft is to extend keratinized tissue of the gums to cover tooth roots, which restores their firm placement within the jaw and prevents further damage.
Traditional gum grafting will have a piece of the gums harvested from the roof of the mouth and sutured facing the exposed root to increase the lost keratinized tissue. The limitation in quantity and the morbidity are the limiting factor of this technique. Allografting techniques (skin from cadavers bought from tissue banks) are used as well to supply the surgeon with larger amount of tissues when needed in larger cases, but the type of healing and the risk of possible disease transmission should be considered and disclosed to the patient when opting for such technique.