Soft Tissue Graft

To combat gum recession soft tissue grafting often becomes necessary. Periodontal disease, aging, trauma, over brushing, and poor tooth positioning are the leading causes of gum recession which in severe cases can lead to tooth-root exposure. When the roots of the teeth become exposed, decay is more prevalent, eating cold and hot foods can be uncomfortable and the aesthetic appearance of the smile is altered. The main aim 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 different types of common soft tissue grafts include :

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

Connective tissue graft

For root exposure or larger areas , subepithelial tissue is needed to remedy the problem. It is the most common treatment for root exposure. The subepithelial connective tissue is removed from a small flap in the mouth and sutured to the grafting site.

Pedicle graft

This type of graft involves the “sharing” of soft tissue between the adjacent gum and affected site . The flap of tissue is partially cut away and moved sideways to cover the root. The outcomes of this type of graft are excellent because the tissue that is moved to the adjacent area includes blood vessels that are left in place.

Reasons for soft tissue grafting

Soft tissue grafting is highly versatile process that has many uses. Recent developments in dental technology have made soft tissue grafting less intrusive and more predictable. Here are some of the main advantages associated with soft tissue grafting treatment:

Increased comfort

Root exposure can cause substantial discomfort and pain. Eating cold, hot or even warm foods can be a cause of severe discomfort. Soft tissue grafts decreases sensitivity, cover the exposed root, and restore good health to gum area.

Improved aesthetics

The recession of gum due to periodontal disease can cause the smile to look “toothy” or the teeth to appear uneven in size. To make the smile appear more symmetrical, soft tissue grafting can be used as a cosmetic procedure to re-augment the gums.

Improved gum health

Periodontal disease can destroy soft tissue very rapidly, as it is a progressive condition. When Soft tissue grafting is used in combination with deep cleaning procedures, it can protect exposed roots from further complications and halt tissue and bone loss.

What does soft tissue grafting treatment involve?

At first, deep cleaning will be performed both above and below the gum line to clean the teeth and roots of calculus (tartar). The grafting procedure generally will be performed under local anesthetic, but this will also depend on the size of the areas receiving grafts. In order to create a small pocket, a small incision will be made at the recipient site. A split thickness cut is made in this pocket where donor tissue is placed between the two sections of this area. The donor tissue strip is usually larger than the incision, hence some excess will be apparent. Growth factors that are rich in platelet may be applied to the site suturing to stimulate natural tissue growth and promote good healing. Plus, tissue-simulating proteins may be added to encourage quicker tissue growth. Lastly, the wound site will be sutured to prevent shifting, and surgical material will be placed to protect the sensitive area. Substantial healing and Gum uniformity will take place in the first six weeks after the procedure.

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