There are two main types of gum tissue. One type is the attached tissue, which is the pink, firm gum that is attached to the bone. The other type is the unattached tissue, which is red and not attached to the bone. When the attached tissue is lost, you need a periodontal procedure called a soft tissue graft to stop further dental problems and gum recession, and/or to improve the aesthetics of your gum line.
When the gum tissue has receded either from hard brushing, grinding, or from periodontal disease, the root surface is exposed. This can cause an unappealing appearance as well as sensitivity to the temperature of foods and liquids. If left untreated, this situation can lead to further bone loss and possibly tooth loss.
Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover exposed root surfaces. During this procedure, a piece of gum tissue is taken from your palate or another donor source to cover the exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth to repair your gum line and reduce sensitivity.
A soft tissue graft can reduce, and in some cases eliminate, further recession and bone loss. Since the tissue covers the previously exposed root surface, it may result in reduced tooth sensitivity. If the defect was visible when smiling, the result can also improve appearance.
Please see the Periodontal Gallery for the types of results that can be accomplished with gum tissue grafts.