Recession is often a result of vigorous brushing, naturally thin tissues, or stretching of tissues during orthodontics. If there is still adequate attached gum to act as a barrier to the cheek muscles, and there is no esthetic concern or cold sensitivity, the treatment for recession is to ensure further damage isn't done when brushing. However, if the attached gum is worn to the point where it cannot resist the constant pull of the cheek, recession will continue unless a new hard band of gum is placed. Unchecked, the recession can cause tooth loss because the supporting bone recedes with the receding tissue and therefore, tooth support weakens.
Additionally, in some cases, areas of recession can be more prone to decay. Recession may be the cause of tooth sensitivity or a poor appearance of your smile. Perhaps you wish to enhance your smile by covering one or more of these roots that make your teeth appear too long. Or, maybe you're not bothered by the appearance of these areas, but you cringe because the exposed roots are sensitive to hot or cold foods and liquids. Any of these complaints would be indications for a gum graft.
There are two basic types of gum grafts:
Those that add to the firm band of tissue at the neck of teeth to resist further recession (free soft gingival graft), or those that cover up recession defects while also augmenting the quality of the surrounding tissue (connective tissue graft). Each specific defect must be evaluated to determine the most appropriate treatment.