Soft Tissue Grafting

Soft tissue grafting is often necessary to combat gum recession. Periodontal disease, trauma, aging, over brushing, and poor tooth positioning are the leading causes of gum recession which can lead to tooth-root exposure in severe cases.

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Types of Tissue Grafting

When the roots of the teeth become exposed, eating hot and cold foods can be uncomfortable, decay is more prevalent, and the aesthetic appearance of the smile is altered.  The main goal of soft tissue grafting is to either cover the exposed root or to thicken the existing gum tissue in order to halt further tissue loss.

The three types of soft tissue grafts include:

Free gingival graft – A strip of tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and stitched to the grafting site in order to promote natural growth.  This type of graft is most commonly used for thickening existing tissue.

Connective tissue graft – Best used for larger areas or root exposure, tissue is removed from a small flap in the mouth and sutured to the grafting site and is the most common treatment for root exposure.

Pedicle graft – This type of graft involves the “sharing” of soft tissue between the affected site and adjacent gum.  A flap of tissue is partially cut away and moved sideways to cover the root.

What does soft tissue grafting treatment involve?

First, a deep cleaning will be performed both above and below the gum line to clear the teeth and roots of calculus (tartar). Grafting procedures are most often performed under local anesthetic. But this depends on the size of the area. Next, a small incision will be made at the recipient site in order to create a small pocket.

During this procedure gum tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth. Refinements in technique allow for this removal with significantly less post-operative discomfort than was experienced in the past. Sometimes tissue is obtained from a “tissue bank.” This tissue is treated to eliminate the risk of disease transmission or graft rejection. This tissue is secured over the exposed root and underneath the gum tissue in the area of the recession by placing the graft. By repositioning the gum tissue over the exposed root and grafted tissue, the graft is further nourished and the root may be covered.

Tissue-stimulating proteins, which stimulate natural tissue growth and promote good healing may be applied to the site before suturing. Finally, the wound site will be sutured to prevent shifting, and protective surgical material will be placed to protect the sensitive area.  The majority of healing will take place in the first six weeks.

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Once your dental work is completed, you’ll enjoy a beautiful, natural-looking smile for many years to come, along with renewed self-confidence and no more mouth discomfort! For more information about restoring your smile, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Garg and his team, contact the Center for Dental Implants at one of our locations around Miami today!

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