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If gum recession (when the gums shrink, or pull away from, the teeth) is advanced, a gum graft may be needed. A graft is when a thin piece of gum tissue is taken from another place in the patient's mouth and attached to the place where the gum tissue has receded. Once the graft heals, it covers the exposed tooth root. Tissue grafts may be done around one tooth or several teeth. Grafts protect the tooth root from sensitivity and decay. A graft can also be used to make a smile look better.
Common grafts in periodontal (gum) surgery are the free gingival graft and the subepithelial connective tissue graft, where gum tissue is removed from one area of the mouth (usually the palate) and placed in another area of the mouth. The goal of the surgery is to cover exposed tooth roots which will decrease sensitivity and improve appearance.
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