What Is Gum Grafting?

Are your gums bleeding, red, or swollen? Do they feel tender to the touch? Are they receding? Periodontal, or gum, disease is on the rise. This may be due to the aging population, or perhaps, in today’s economy people are taking shortcuts regarding their dental care. Whatever the reason, periodontal disease has been linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes. It’s been indicated that our dental health affects the health of our whole body, so dental care should not be ignored.  If you have red, bleeding, or sore gums you may be suffering from periodontal disease. Contact your Cerritos, CA oral surgeon, Dr. Shawn Hofkes, to discuss whether gum grafting is right for you.

Why Gum Graft Surgery?

Gum graft surgery replaces gum tissue and is performed for various reasons including preventative, restorative, and cosmetic reasons. Receding gums can be due to age, or a symptom of gum disease.  As your gums recede, or pull back, they leave the root of your tooth exposed. If your receding gums are due to aging, they can leave you more susceptible to periodontal disease. Bacteria can get under the gumline causing infection, decay, and eventual tooth loss.  When the root of the tooth is exposed your teeth become sensitive, and it tarnishes the aesthetics of your smile.  Effects of receding gums:

  • Excessive Root Exposure: Root exposure causes sensitivity. You are also at higher risk for plaque build-up, and when too much root is exposed it can be painful to brush. Plaque will cause decay and lead to tooth loss.
  •  Hypersensitivity: Exposure of the tooth root due to gingival recession (receding gums), results in sensitivity to heat and cold, and even the gentlest of tooth care can cause pain.

What Is Gum Graft Surgery?

During gum graft surgery, tissue from other areas of the mouth is grafted onto the existing gum. This process replaces the natural protective barrier, saving the root from overexposure to bacterial agents and plaque. It remedies tooth sensitivity, and restores the aesthetics of your smile. There are three types of gum grafts:

  • Connective-Tissue Grafts
  • Free Gingival Grafts
  • Pedicle Grafts

The difference is based mostly on what site the replacement tissue is taken from. Tissue can also be taken from a tissue bank, or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage natural tissue growth. A gradually developing condition, receding gums may go unnoticed until symptoms become severe. To prevent this, brush twice a day, floss, and attend routine checkups.


Shawn Hofkes, DDS, is highly qualified to address complex issues, including the diagnosis and treatment of destructive gum disease. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.