Free Gingival Graft
The objective of a free gingival graft procedure is to reconstruct a sufficiently robust band of gum (keratinized gingivae) tissue to effectively restore the support lost. A free gingival graft is harvested from the outer layer of gum tissue on the palate. When a free gingival graft is employed, no attempt is made to cover the exposed root surface. As such, free gingival grafts are typically considered for patients lacking adequate gum tissue, but who have not yet experienced gum recession. Specific genetic profiles lack adequate gum (keratinized gingivae) tissue and for such patients, free gingival graft procedures represent an ideal means of returning such patients to lasting gum – periodontal health. Free gingival grafts are also considered in patients about to undergo orthodontic treatment or where crowns or other restorative treatment is planned. Crowns represent a potential source of chronic inflammation in patients lacking adequate gum tissue. Free gingival grafts represent an established and predictable treatment modality. Once placed, free gingival grafts can often last a patient’s lifetime.
The primary limitation of free gingival grafts is that such procedures cannot cover exposed roots, but merely serve to stop further recession. In addition, gum from the palate tends to be a lighter shade of pink than the gum located around one’s teeth and this may have a slight cosmetic impact. Finally, the palatal donor site may be sore for up to a week while your body heals.