Duration: 8 minutes, 51 seconds

Author: Dr. Sascha A. Jovanovic

The Modified Free Connective Tissue Graft: Treating Gum Recession


Gum recession, a common dental problem, occurs when the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away or pulls back, exposing the tooth roots. This condition can lead to tooth sensitivity, aesthetic concerns, and even tooth loss if left untreated. Therefore, oral health professionals have developed various treatments, one of which is the modified free connective tissue graft.

What is the Modified Free Connective Tissue Graft?

The modified free connective tissue graft is a dental procedure specifically designed to address gum recession. This technique involves taking a small piece of tissue from the palate (roof of the mouth) and transplanting it to the area where the gums have receded. The tissue graft helps to restore the gum tissue, cover exposed tooth roots, and prevent further gum recession.

The Procedure Process

The modified free connective tissue graft is performed by a qualified dental professional, usually a periodontist or oral surgeon. The procedure is typically carried out under local anesthesia to ensure patient comfort. Here is an overview of the step-by-step process:

1. Diagnosis and Planning

Prior to the procedure, the dentist will evaluate the extent of gum recession and determine if the patient is a suitable candidate for a connective tissue graft. X-rays and dental examinations are conducted to assess the overall oral health.

2. Harvesting the Tissue

A small incision is made on the palate to obtain a thin layer of connective tissue. The dentist carefully removes the tissue, ensuring it is sufficient to cover the exposed root surfaces adequately.

3. Preparing the Recipient Site

The dentist prepares the area where the gum recession has occurred. This involves cleaning and smoothing the surface of the exposed root to create an ideal environment for the transplanted tissue to bond.

4. Transplanting the Tissue

The harvested connective tissue is then placed onto the recipient site and carefully sutured into place. The dentist ensures that the graft is securely positioned to cover the exposed root surfaces and promote proper healing.

Post-Operative Care

After the modified free connective tissue graft procedure, proper post-operative care is essential for successful healing and maintaining healthy gums. Patients are advised to follow these guidelines:

1. Pain Management

Over-the-counter pain relievers may be prescribed to manage any discomfort or pain experienced after the procedure. It is important to follow the dentist’s instructions regarding medication dosage and timing.

2. Oral Hygiene

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is crucial during the healing process. Patients should continue brushing their teeth gently twice a day and using a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating the graft site. The dentist may also recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash to promote healing and prevent infection.

3. Dietary Considerations

Patients should stick to a soft or liquid diet for a few days following the procedure. This helps minimize discomfort and allows the graft site to heal undisturbed.

4. Avoiding Irritants

Smoking, chewing tobacco, and consuming alcohol should be avoided during the healing process. These substances can hinder the healing process and increase the risk of complications.

5. Regular Dental Visits

Regular follow-up appointments are crucial to monitor the healing progress of the graft and overall oral health. The dentist will provide further instructions on oral hygiene practices and assess the success of the graft.


The modified free connective tissue graft offers an effective solution for treating gum recession. By transplanting tissue from the roof of the mouth to the receding gum area, this procedure helps restore gum tissue and prevent further recession. Patients must adhere to proper post-operative care guidelines and maintain regular dental visits for successful healing and long-term oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the modified free connective tissue graft a painful procedure?

While local anesthesia is used during the procedure to minimize discomfort, some patients may experience mild soreness or discomfort afterward. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage any discomfort.

2. How long does it take for the graft to heal completely?

The healing time may vary from person to person. Generally, it takes about two to three weeks for the initial healing process. However, complete tissue integration and final results may take several months.

3. Are there any potential risks or complications associated with the procedure?

Like any dental procedure, there are potential risks and complications. These can include infection, bleeding, graft failure, and post-operative pain. However, with proper oral hygiene and follow-up care, these risks can be minimized.

4. Can someone be too old for a modified free connective tissue graft?

Age itself is not a strict limitation for this procedure. However, the overall health status of the patient and certain medical conditions may influence the eligibility. It is best to consult with a dental professional to evaluate the suitability for the procedure.

5. Can the modified free connective tissue graft improve tooth sensitivity?

Yes, one of the benefits of this procedure is that it can help reduce tooth sensitivity caused by exposed tooth roots. The transplanted tissue covers the sensitive roots, alleviating sensitivity and enhancing oral comfort.

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