Soft tissue grafts are used to cover exposed root surfaces and replace gum tissue, which was lost due to gum recession. The recession may have occurred for a variety of reasons including aggressive tooth brushing, periodontal disease or a combination of factors including grinding and clenching of the teeth. The benefits of grafting include improved appearance, protection to the teeth and reduced tooth sensitivity. Grafts can be provided for a single area or multiple teeth can be treated at one appointment.
Soft tissue grafts may also be used to re-establish normal gum contours following tooth loss or trauma. Improvements in contour lead to improved appearance and reduction of food collection around the teeth.
Traditional Grafting Procedures
In older procedures the tissue is taken from the top of the roof palate for the graft. The graft is from the surface and is rectangular in shape and cannot be closed with stitches. This older procedure is much more painful and requires more time to heal.
The Newest Grafting Procedure
The soft tissue graft is taken from underneath the surface tissue. The incision for the soft tissue graft is a narrow straight line and heals quickly because it is small and can be closed with stitches. In appropriate situations “AlloDerm®” can be used eliminating the need to use a donor site for the procedure.
Do I need soft tissue grafting?
Soft Tissue Grafting is recommended when you have or are at risk of gum recession that has left the root of a tooth exposed. Soft Tissue Grafting is a common procedure that is intended to recreate your gum line and prevent further deterioration of the gums, while enhancing the appearance of your smile.
What can cause gum recession?
- Aggressive brushing
- Gum disease
- Gum tissue that is naturally thin
- Previous orthodontic treatments
- Previous tooth loss
- Traumatic biting habits such as grinding or clenching your teeth.
What can happen if I don’t get treated?
- Hot or cold hypersensitive, causing pain.
- Bone and gum may recede further aggravating the existing problems.
- Untreated gum recession can lead to gum inflammation and result in root cavities and/or tooth loss.
- Progressive loss of bone and gum might need to be corrected with lengthy and costly treatments.
What are the benefits of soft tissue grafting?
- Soft tissue grafting is the most noninvasive method for recreating and repairing lost gum tissue. Benefits may include:
- Prevention or reduction of sensitivity by covering the exposed root.
- Protection from future cavities.
- Symmetry in your gum line, creating an improved smile.
- Creating a good environment for implant placement.
- Prevention of future gum deterioration.
Will the procedure hurt?
Discomfort is usually minimal. Your recuperation period should be between 1-3 days. Patients normally go back to work the day after the procedure is done. Pain relief medications will be prescribed for you to take, as needed.
Will my insurance cover it?
Most insurance companies cover soft tissue grafts. We will be happy to check if your insurance covers all or part of the cost.
How long does the procedure take?
This depends on what you will need to ensure the best success. Dr. Metz will evaluate the area and give you a good idea of the length of your procedure.
Is there special aftercare for grafts?
No, Once the graft completely heals, it is natural part of your body and should be treated with the same care as the rest of your teeth and gums.