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Soft Tissue Grafting


The gums or soft tissue serve as the base of the teeth, and all of the tooth roots are anchored deeply into these soft tissues. However, when an infection takes place within the gums, it can cause inflammation and degeneration, resulting to gum recession.

As gums recede, the roots of teeth become exposed. This can lead to sensitivity, esthetic issues, and in the long run, tooth loss. When this happens, our dentists will likely recommend soft tissue grafting to restore your gums.

When Do I Need Soft Tissue Grafting?

gum diseaseGum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss worldwide. It does not always show symptoms, and when it does, it may indicate that the infection has already spread extensively. One of the signs of gum disease is gum recession which is caused by the body’s immune response to infection.

Soft tissue grafting is the standard treatment for gum recession. It promotes gum regeneration through the manual addition of tissue. The tissues can be taken from either your own palate or from a tissue bank. Depending on your actual condition, the decision on which tissue to use will be determined by our dentists.

If you have advanced gum disease and your tooth roots are exposed, a gum graft is the best way to reverse the effects of the disease. However, our dentists may discuss alternative treatment options in the event that you are not eligible for soft tissue grafting.

Benefits of Soft Tissue Grafting

When you get a soft tissue graft, you will gain the following benefits:

  1. Reduced sensitivity. Exposed tooth roots can cause pain and sensitivity because the nerves are right under the roots. This can make it difficult for you to consume hot and cold foods. After grafting, the tooth roots will be covered with gum tissue again and the sensitivity problem will diminish.
  2. Better-looking smile. When your gums recede, your smile will look toothy because of your longer-looking teeth. This can make you feel uncomfortable to smile and socialize. Once your gums have been grafted and regrown, the toothy appearance will disappear and you can smile with confidence again.
  3. Restored gum health. Untreated gum disease can lead to major dental problems, the worst of which is tooth loss. By restoring your gum health, you can maintain your overall oral health and keep your teeth intact.

Types of Gum Grafts

Based on your dental condition, you may undergo any of the following grafting methods.

Free Gingival Graft

A free gingival graft makes use of the tissues at the roof of your mouth (palate). The tissue is taken directly from the palate and sewn to the diseased gum area. Free gingival grafts are best for individuals who have thin gum mass and need extensive regrowth.

Pedicle Graft

Pedicle grafting is done for patients who still have a lot of gum tissue left around the affected area. Instead of taking palate tissue, the procedure makes use of surrounding gum tissue. A pedicle is made from the nearby gum tissue by cutting out a flap with one edge remaining intact. The flap is then turned over to cover the affected area and sewn into place.

Connective Tissue Graft

The subepithelial connective tissue is used to restore deeply receded gums and fix tooth root exposure. The harvesting procedure requires removal of tissue from under the flap of the palate and not just on the surface. Once the connective tissue is extracted, the flap on the palate is sewn back into place. The connective tissue is then attached to the affected gum area.

Gum Graft Recovery Instructions

After gum grafting, you can resume regular daily activities as long as you adhere to the following:

  1. Don’t brush or floss the grafted area until it is fully healed, usually around two weeks.
  2. Use the prescription mouthrinse given by our dentists to keep the grafted area clean and infection-free.
  3. If you were prescribed an antibiotic, take it for the entire course of treatment (7 days) to prevent infections.
  4. Stay on a soft diet for at least one week. Foods such as gelatin, yogurt, and ice cream are good for the healing process because they are cool and can help reduce inflammation. Other foods that you can eat include well-cooked vegetables, eggs, well-cooked pasta, and soft cheeses.
  5. If the tissue was taken from your palate, you may experience burning sensations on the roof of your mouth. You may also experience gum surgery pain right after the procedure. Taking pain relief medications and ingesting cool foods will help ease the discomfort.
  6. Avoid touching the grafted area or letting non-food objects come in contact with it.

How to Get Gum Grafts in South Jersey

At Dental Arts of South Jersey, our highly trained dentists are experienced in performing gum grafts with high rates of success. To get a consultation with our dentists, please call us at (856) 942-1738 or place an appointment with us using this web form.

Before gum grafting can be done, certain tests and preparations need to be completed. Our dentists will give you recommendations on what steps to take as well as possible alternatives for your dental condition. If a gum graft is the best treatment of choice, our dentists will provide instructions and explain the treatment process.

Gum grafting isn’t done just for the esthetic benefit, but most importantly for the health of your gums. Fighting gum disease will help preserve your teeth and eliminate the need for tooth replacements in the future.

 

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Dental Arts of South Jersey
1001 Laurel Oak Road, Suite C1
Voorhees, NJ 08043
Phone: (856) 942-1738

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