Dentistry has come a long way since the days of barber-surgeons who probably caused more dental problems than they solved. Today, we are able to perform and fix all sorts of dental conditions, either for aesthetics or for function, that help you to live a better life. One of these amazing developments in dentistry is gum grafts. But what is a gum graft and when would you need one? Bitterroot Dental is your go-to Missoula dentist. Our team works diligently to provide you with the best dental care available. Below, we’ll explain what a gum graft is and when you would need one. Contact us today for all your general dentistry needs!


A gum graft in its simplest form is where a piece of healthy skin is taken from your body and implanted somewhere else. A gum graft can be used to treat various conditions, such as severe burns, excessive trauma to the skin, or other places where skin loss has occurred. In dentistry, gum grafting is most commonly used in the case of gum recession, which is where a portion of your gum has receded or pulled away from your tooth and a healthy piece of skin is taken to replace it.


As mentioned above, a gum graft is performed when your gums have receded, exposing your tooth and the tooth’s root, which lends you more open to bacteria infecting that area and to loss of that tooth. Gum recession is not all that common, and most people don’t even notice it because it’s a slow progression.

In a skin graft procedure, gum is most often taken from the roof of the patient’s mouth and placed over the afflicted area. It is then stitched to the surrounding gum. In a few weeks, the gum graft will have bonded to the existing skin and will have completely healed, leaving your tooth’s root protected. Sometimes the gum is taken from other gum tissue around your teeth. This procedure can be performed for merely cosmetic reasons as well, since some of us are born with thinner gums than others.


A gum graft is a minor procedure, most often performed by periodontists, a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. The area where the graft will come from is numbed and then sutured to the tooth. This is a quick procedure, usually less than an hour and can be quite effective as long as the patient follows aftercare instructions. Usually, you’ll be required to eat soft foods on only one side of your mouth, forego brushing the afflicted area, and cut back on physical activity while your body recovers and heals.


Missoula dentist Bitterroot Dental offers the best family dental care. We specialize in general dentistry, such as dental hygiene, fillings, and root canals. We also offer cosmetic dentistry as well as procedures involving laser dentistry, which include laser periodontal treatments. As a Top Rated Local® dentist in Missoula, our staff considers it a privilege to help you obtain and maintain good oral hygiene and oral care. Contact us today for an appointment!