When you look at your gums you will notice that there is a hard whiter gum tissue [called the attached gingiva] next to the tooth and a more mobile Pinker gum tissue [called the unattached gingiva] below that. In order for a healthy situation to exist you need at least 3 mm of the harder whiter gum tissue below the base of the gum pocket. What this means is you start measuring the 3 mm not at the top of it, but where a periodontal probe stops when placed beside the tooth. When there is not 3 mm of the whiter gum then further recession of the gum and chronic inflammation of the gum will occur.
In other cases there is 3 mm attached gingiva but the gum has receded exposing the root of the tooth. This can cause increased to sensitivity and loss of tooth structure. The reason for this is the top of the tooth is covered by enamel under which is dentin and then the nerve. On the root there is no enamel and there is simply dentin under which is the nerve. Within the dentin there are small channels filled with fluid which are in contact with nerve. In addition dentin is much softer than enamel and can be easily damaged by simple toothbrushing.
Therefore for all of the reasons given above the gum tissue should be augmented or moved for both back to its original position and type. This can be accomplished by gum grafts.
Grafts can be obtained from your own tissue ( called autologous grafts) or from cadaver grafts.
Using your own tissue means having a second surgical site( the donor) site. The most used site for dental grafts is the palate( roof of your mouth). Although these work well the donor site can be very painful and take along time to heal. Also if multiple grafts are required you may need several surgeries to obtain enough tissue.
Cadaver grafts have the advantage of sparing you a second surgical site, and there is no limit to the the number of sites that can be grafted. The major player in cadaver grafts is ALLODERM from the united states. This product has been in use for over 15 years in the US and has never been linked to disease transmission•.It now has provisional approval in Australia through the TGA.
Best of all it has the same success rate as autologous grafts.
All of the above makes Alloderm the clear winner in our opinion.