My 12 yo daughter needs a gum graft. What Method is best- harvesting or using donor tissue?
Dr. Devoll’s Respons:
The best method is to harvest from the roof of the mouth and use that tissue to build up the gums. The root cause of gum recession is the absence of attached gingiva and the presence of mucosa where there should be attached gingiva. Gum recession is a genetically driven developmental problem. When the covering over the jawbone around the neck of a tooth is mucosa (a thin tissue), the underlying bone recedes and eventually the exposes the root. According to every study I have ever read on the subject, tissue from the roof of the mouth is the only way to significantly increase the amount of attached gingiva (gum tissue) around a tooth.
Some periodontist use donated freeze-dried human skin, called Alloderm as the donor tissue. Alloderm is a non-living sheet of human skin collagen. Although some root coverage can be obtain with Alloderm, there will not be a significant lasting increase in attached gingiva. With an Alloderm graft one achieves a thin layer of mucosa covering the sheet of Alloderm. Over time the Alloderm will be resorbed by the body because it is a foreign non-vital substance. After a few years of resorption, the patient is back to square one and the gum recession begins again.
This is a very technical topic and I hope this helps you with your decision. Please post any follow up questions you may have and I apologize for taking so long to reply to your question