Gum Grafting Gives Good Grins

WILLIAMSPORT, COLLEGEVILLE AND PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA- Gum recession can have a variety of culprits. Periodontal disease, forceful teeth brushing and genetics are just a few.

What begins as a cosmetic inconvenience can advance into the realm of a serious health issue if left untreated. As many as 12 percent of adults suffer from gum recession, which frequently isn’t noticed until it reaches an advanced stage, according to WebMD (
A periodontics procedure known as gum grafting can replace the lost gum tissue to improve your oral health and restore your smile, says Philadelphia dental implants and gum grafting expert Dr. David DiGiallorenzo.

How it Works
If it is determined that you need a gum graft, this procedure can be done in our office. Depending on the location of your receding gums, periodontist Dr. DiGiallorenzo may use hard or soft tissue for the grafts. The hard tissue is known as keratinized gingiva and its function is to protect your teeth’s roots. Gingiva mucosa is the soft, flexible tissue. The soft tissue is the first to go during gum recession, and it makes your teeth look longer because it exposes more of the enamel.

“This is yet another reason to stay on top of your routine dental checkups,” Dr. DiGiallorenzo says. “If caught early, we can do a soft tissue graft to restore your gumline. It’s less invasive and offers a quicker healing time.”
Gums grafts today are generally quick, minimally invasive and painless.  And whole areas of the mouth can be accomplished, he says.
The graft helps stunt further recession, according to the Mayo Clinic website. It often is used on patients with thin gums who require extra tissue to enlarge their gums, the WebMD site states.

The connective graft is the most frequently used method of correcting root exposure, according to DiGiallorenzo. It still uses tissue from the roof of your mouth. However, once the flap is made in the palate, Dr. DiGiallorenzo removes tissue- called subepithelial connective tissue- located beneath the flap and sutures that to the exposed root areas of your teeth.

Often, gum grafting can be accomplished without the need to obtain tissue from the roof of your mouth.  Our office draws a bit of blood from the patient, and utilizes a terrific technique called PRGF, which utilizes the body’s proteins to stimulate repair and healing, says Dr. DiGiallorenzo.  In addition, we routinely use lasers to biostimulate the site for optimal healing, and we also implement nutritional protocols.

After the Graft
Following your gum graft procedure, we advise you to avoid flossing or brushing near the graft until the area has had time to heal. We also prescribe a rinse that fights against plaque as you heal.

In addition to your oral hygiene habits, your diet must change a bit while you heal. We recommend a diet of eggs, pastas, yogurt, well-cooked vegetables and other soft foods.

An Ounce of Prevention

“We understand that most people don’t enjoy dental procedures and want to avoid them if at all possible,” says Dr. DiGiallorenzo, who also is a denture implants expert.

The good news is that steps can be taken to help keep periodontal disease at bay. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, stop. We offer smoking cessation assistance through our office. Floss daily and brush your teeth for at least two minutes. And don’t forget to brush your tongue. Keep up to date with your dental exams and cleanings.

“In the event that you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, remember that the earlier it is caught, the better,” Dr. DiGiallorenzo says. “If caught early enough, gum grafting can be avoided. We have a procedure we can perform that is a no-cut, no-suture, virtually pain-free method of combatting the harmful effects of periodontal disease.”

Known as LANAP, which stands for laser-assisted new attachment procedure, this procedure uses a laser to lightly pass between your gumline and teeth to remove diseased tissue, seal the gum and leave healthy tissue behind.

Learn More
If you would like to learn more about gum grafting or LANAP, or you want to schedule a consultation with Dr. David Digiallorenzo, please call (610) 409-6064 in Collegeville; (570) 322-4741 in Williamsport; or visit his Web site:

About Dr. David Digiallorenzo
Dr. David Digiallorenzo, or “Dr. D,” graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1993 and completed a specialty in periodontics and dental implantology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995.

He is an associate clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Periodontics. He teaches nationally and internationally and is a regular contributor to dental literature.

Dr. D’s private practice in suburban Philadelphia concentrates on periodontics, dental implantology, advanced reconstructive case management and TMJ treatment. It is a unique dental spa with two full-time massage therapists that specialize in reflexology, reiki, massage, aromatherapy and homeopathy. This combination creates a relaxed, optimal healing response.
Dr. D has two office locations: 184 W. Main St., Ste. 200, in Collegeville, PA; and 121 E. Fourth St. in Williamsport, PA.

© 2011 Master Google and Dr. David DiGiallorenzo.

Meet Dr. D

Dr. David DiGiallorenzo received his training at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Periodontics and Periodontal Prosthesis in the early 1990s. His training included prosthodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, and advanced oral reconstructive techniques, including oral implantology.

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