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.