To understand grafts, it is important to have an idea of the anatomy of the tooth and its supporting structures.
A healthy tooth is surrounded by two types of gum tissue.
The attached tissue (1), a leather-like solid tissue bound to the jaw and tooth. A minimum amount of attached tissue is crucial for the stability of your gums.
A loose fragile tissue, called mucosa (2), which is not bound to the tooth or the jaw.
When the attached tissue is very thin (1), the area becomes more susceptible to breakdown.
Brushing too hard in this area may sometime speed up the breakdown.
Gum tissue breakdown, called recession, results in exposure of the root surface.
This process can be progressive and gradually expose more root surface.
Severe recessions can jeopardize the long term survival of the tooth.
The recessions can create areas that are difficult to clean. If the areas are not brushed properly, plaque deposits will cause gingivitis.
Gingivitis can speed up the breakdown in the area.
These areas can also be more sensitive to cold.
Untreated progressive recessions can lead to tooth loss.