What is Gum Recession and why do I have it?

Gum recession is the process where the tissue that surrounds the teeth pulls away from a tooth, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root.

Many people don’t even notice that their gums have receded, because it’s a very gradual process. However, over time, an exposed tooth root not only looks unattractive, but can also cause tooth sensitivity, especially when eating cold or hot foods. Eventually, gum recession, if not treated, can also damage the surrounding bone of the tooth and to repair the damage and prevent further dental problems, a gum tissue graft may be needed.

The main causes of gum recession:

  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Inadequate oral hygiene
  • Diabetes and other illnesses which increase your risk of infection
  • Hormone changes
  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Aggressive or improper brushing technique

Do I need a Gum Graft?

If your dentist has recommended a gum tissue graft procedure it will be due to gum recession. Gum recession gradually exposes the roots of your teeth allowing the tooth root surface to become more sensitive and more prone to decay. You will be referred by your dentist to a periodontal specialist for this type of surgical procedure.

What is a Gum Graft?

There are three types of gum grafts that are performed and your periodontist will discuss these options with you before deciding which method is most appropriate depending on your individual needs.

– Connective tissue graft – the most common of all of the grafts in treating exposed tooth roots. This is where new tissue will be added to cover your exposed tooth roots. A flap of skin is cut at the roof of your mouth (palate) and tissue from under the flap is removed and then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root(s). After the graft has been performed the palatal flap is stitched back down.

– Free Gingival graft – This method of graft also uses tissue from the palate (roof of the mouth.) A small amount of tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth (rather than from underneath a flap of exposed palate) and is then attached to the gum area being treated. Patients with already thin gums tend to need this type of graft as it provides additional tissue to prevent further recession.

– Pedicle graft – The flap of tissue lifted (known as the pedicle) is a partially cut section of ‘’local’’ tissue cut from the gum around or near the tooth needing repair. Whilst one edge of the flap remains attached, the gum is then pulled over or down covering the exposed root and is then sutured into place. This procedure can only be done in people who have plenty of gum tissue near the tooth being treated.

Recovery from a Gum Grafting Procedure

A gum graft is a quick and relatively simple dental procedure, performed to correct the effects of gum recession. The procedure has a relatively short recovery period of 1- 2 weeks with most patients returning to their usual activities just 1 day after surgery.

It is common for patients to experience some soreness in the treatment area for a day or so after surgery and chewing foods can be tricky for about a week after treatment. Patients are advised about what they should and shouldn’t eat during the healing phase and teeth and gums should be kept clean. Your Periodontist may recommend that you avoid brushing the treatment area however to avoid irritation, and to instead, use a prescribed mouth rinse.

Benefits of a Gum Graft Procedure

Gum grafts are an effective method of arresting the process of gum recession and bone loss. Gum grafts can also help to reduce tooth sensitivity and protect the roots of your teeth from decay.

A gum graft is also aesthetically pleasing giving patients a more even gumline improving the appearance of teeth and gums when smiling or laughing.

While gum tissue grafts are effective at repairing gum recession and preventing further damage, there is no guarantee that other gum issues won’t develop in the future if you are not maintaining a good oral health regime so we would always recommend booking a hygiene maintenance package to keep your gums healthy all year round.

In 2022 I got tunnel surgery for receding gums that were really affecting my confidence and smile. Leticia and the team were so kind and reassuring throughout the process and the procedure itself was virtually painless, as was the recovery (which really surprised me!). Leticia gave me her personal phone number in the event I had any questions to ask her during the recovery process and my check-ups in the following weeks made sure that everything was healing as it should. I couldn’t be happier with how the process went and the impact it had on getting my confidence back has been massive. Highly recommend this team if you are looking to have a similar procedure done.

Izzy Lodge

Everyone at the practice is so friendly and professional. I was made to feel really comfortable and everything was explained to me so clearly. I really appreciated the aftercare and follow up after my treatments. I already recommended LPID to my friends and family ❤️

Susan Nsofu

Laeticia will always go the extra mile with her patients. She is not only highly competent and professional, but often what she achieves is also is artistic in its individual suitability. Many thanks are due!

Loulla Gorman


Amazing technical skills, attention to detail and a holistic approach. As a patient you feel supported and reassured. I had an implant and all sorts of other things done. Very happy with the final result. Highly recommend!



The moment you step inside the whole LPID team take away any stress or anxiety you may have about going to the dentist. They are experts in difficult and complex cases and provide clear and transparent treatment plans and prices. I couldn't be happier with my final results, thank you!! P.s. Irina is an absolute star

George Huxley


Dr David Holmes is an excellent dentist and periodontist. Over the previous three years he treated my periodontal disease and put in implants with perfect results. When I had to be out of the country on and off for two years his precision work, which was only supposed to be temporary, did the job well to my recent check up. I would highly recommend David, particularly to anyone needing major implant work. No only is his medical professionalism impressive, he is a sympathetic communicator, and his shares his thoughts with his patients about the best intervention strategy. The cosmetic matching with old photographs of teeth when healthy, produced attractive natural results. In summary David will fix your problem. Dr Rupert Holms ( not a relative)

Rupert Holms


Dr Casanova did a small procedure on my son’s gum to expose a tooth. My son was quite nervous but Dr Casanova and her team were very sweet and professional. My son said he barely felt any pain at all and it has healed nicely.

Yasmeen Alzubaydi


Leticia and her team are absolutely brilliant. They’re clearly the best at what they do and I’ve felt in exceptionally safe hands throughout the process. Highly recommend and can’t thank them enough for how they’ve looked after me both before, during and after my surgery.

Louise Smith

Dr. Holmes, Dr. Casanova and team saved my smile under what has been very difficult circumstances. I cannot thank them enough for their brilliant work and the kindness I have received in their care!

Alice Milne

If you would like to find out more please contact us.


02075 639 989


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