Gum recession affects many adults, young and old. If left untreated, this condition can have serious consequences for oral and overall health. Gum grafting, or gingival grafting, is one of the most effective ways to deal with receding gums. At CITIDental High Street in downtown Boston, our in-house periodontist, Dr. Anne-Marie O’Connor, is an expert at performing gum graft surgery.


Although good oral hygiene practices can delay or prevent gum recession, sometimes it will occur despite all your best efforts. If you have noticed your gums slowly receding from around your teeth or an increase in tooth sensitivity, you’re not alone. There are several things that can lead to gum recession.

Gum disease – a common infection that can cause your gums to shrink back.

Too aggressive brushing – Ironically, over brushing to try to care for your teeth may be causing the loss of gum tissue.

Using a brush with too hard bristles – This can also wear on your sensitive gums.

As the gums pull up away from the teeth, many people notice increased sensitivity to cold and sweet, making eating and drinking certain foods painful. Additionally, exposed tooth roots are more susceptible to decay than enamel. In more serious cases, recession of the gum can cause the bones holding the teeth in place to recede, loosening the tooth and leading to tooth loss.


Gum grafting surgery is a common treatment that restores lost gum tissue and protects the teeth. In this procedure, Dr. O’Connor will take a small strip of soft tissue from another part of your mouth, usually the palate, and carefully place it under your existing gums where tooth roots are exposed. One procedure can correct recession around several adjacent teeth at once.

As this is an actually surgery, recovery will take some time. You may need pain killers for the first few days after the procedure. For a week or two you will have to be careful what you eat and how you care for your teeth, but you should be able to carry on regular daily activities during this time. When your gums are properly healed Dr. O’Connor will remove the stitches and you’ll be able to eat and smile just as you did before, but with a much more healthy, attractive gumline.


Treating gum recession is best done as soon as you or your dentist becomes aware of the condition. Gum grafting is very effective for treating more advanced cases of gum recession. In earlier stages, treating the underlying gum infection or improving your brushing technique may be enough to stop and even reverse the recession.

Gum grafting may be the right solution for you for any of the following reasons:

If your teeth become so sensitive it limits your ability to eat or clean them

If your recession is getting worse because you’re not able to clean below the gumline

Where the extent of recession is interfering with treatments to restore lost bone tissue

For aesthetic reasons


At CITIDental High Street, we are dedicated to excellence in comprehensive oral health and dental care services. Our goal is to meet all your needs with the talents and skills of different specialties in one office – that is what comprehensive means. We offer a complete range of cosmetic services, preventive care, and restorative care right in the heart of the financial district. Contact us today for an appointment.

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