Gingival Grafts – Mucogingival Procedures


Gingival grafts can be utilized for cosmetic and tooth / bone protective reasons.  As the gum recedes, we tend to see “longer” looking teeth that many people feel are unsightly. These “longer” teeth also tend to be at higher risk for cavities, increased sensitivity to hot and cold, and at greater risk for eventual loss.

There are a variety of reasons why gum tissue recession (Loss) can occur. Common reasons include: excessive or rough tooth brushing; thin gum tissue; location of the teeth within the gum / bone; and inflammation of the gums. Prior to treating these areas, it is very important to address the cause of the tissue loss, so it will be less likely to reoccur after treatment.

As the gum tissue recedes, we lose the thick layer of protective gum tissue around the tooth (Gingiva). Once this is lost, the remaining thin and unprotective gum tissue (Mucosa) is all that remains to prevent further gum loss.

After addressing the causative factor(s), our goal is to redevelop a thick layer of tissue (Gingiva) around the tooth that “grips” onto the underlying tooth / bone preventing further gum loss from occurring.

In many situations, the “long” teeth may be cosmetically returned to their original size, shape, and beauty through the enhancements created by a gingival graft.

As all patients are different, Dr. Cohen will discuss in detail, the best option for your individual teeth and gums after a complete examination.


Although a number of techniques exist in Gingival Grafting, the outcomes tend be very similar. Tissue from the palate or another area in the mouth may be utilized to cover the exposed or “long” teeth. In some situations, tissue adjoining the area(s) involved may be shifted to help cover the exposed roots. In either case, the tissue helps develop thick gum over the area which can prevent further bone loss, tooth loss, root cavities, decrease sensitivity to hot and cold, and improve the aesthetic appearance.

In many situations, a donor tissue graft may be utilized to avoid the otherwise necessary step of obtaining tissue from another area in the mouth. The tissue used for this procedure has been tested and met rigorous standards. Dr. Cohen has extensive experience with this material and has performed clinical research with its use. It has been used successfully for years in both burn victims and for periodontal procedures such as these. Dr. Cohen will be happy to explain in detail all the options suitable to your individual needs.  

After achieving anesthesia in the areas to be treated, the graft and the gum tissue will be held in place with dissolvable sutures. This procedure typically lasts about an hour. Unless a patient chooses sedation for the procedure, they typically can return to work the same day. Follow-up visits are usually scheduled for 1 and 3 weeks after the procedure.