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What is Soft Tissue Grafting?

Your oral health involves keeping both your teeth and gums healthy. Diseased gums can begin to recede, leading to discomfort and even the loss of teeth over time.  Soft tissue grafting restores the support the teeth need, enhancing your appearance at the same time. The surgical procedure replaces lost gum tissue using harvested tissue from another area of the mouth. Dr. Haynes offers soft tissue grafting at Radiance Smiles Center, providing his patients with options to improve their health and their looks in a comfortable, professional setting.

Soft tissue grafting is performed by harvesting tissue from the roof of the mouth or another area of the gums and grafting that tissue into the area where recession has occurred. Donor tissue may also be used if you do not have a sufficient supply to use for the procedure. As the graft heals, the tissue will integrate into the new area for a natural look and feel.

In addition to restoring the gum line, soft tissue grafting can be effective in preventing further recession from occurring. In most cases, this procedure offers permanent results. However, some patients may find they have additional recession in different areas over time that requires another grafting procedure to resolve.

Reasons You Might Need Soft Tissue Grafting

Dr. Haynes may recommend a soft tissue graft for a variety of reasons:

Oral Health

Gum recession is caused by periodontal disease, which is a degenerative condition that worsens over time. By using a combination of grafting and deep cleaning to stop the recession, we can also prevent further gum and bone loss.

Comfort

Recessed gums expose the root of the tooth, which can increase your sensitivity to hot and cold and lead to generalized pain around the tooth and gum area. Restoring the gum tissue through grafting usually enhances a patient’s comfort when eating or drinking.

Cosmetics

Receding gums are more than a health problem; they can be a cosmetic embarrassment as well. If you are unhappy with your “toothy” appearance, grafting may restore your looks as well as your gum line.

Is Soft Tissue Grafting Right for You?

Gum recession is a relatively common issue that may affect more than 10 percent of all adults. The cause of recession varies, and it may be attributed to overzealous brushing, genetics, or poor oral hygiene. If the latter is the cause of your recession, Dr. Haynes may advise you to wait on your grafting procedure until your gum disease can be managed.

About the Process

Dr. Haynes performs most of his soft tissue grafting procedures under local anesthesia, which means you won’t feel any discomfort during the surgery. There are three basic ways that the grafting may be done:

Free Gingival Graft

This grafting method involves harvesting a narrow strip of tissue from the roof of the mouth. Dr. Haynes often recommends this technique for patients with thinner gums because it offers the best results in thickening the gum line as well as providing the additional support the patient needs.

Connective Tissue Graft

When the root of your tooth is exposed, a connective tissue graft is usually the technique of choice. This method creates a small flap in the roof of the mouth that allows Dr. Haynes to remove connective tissue underneath.

Pedicle Graft

If there is sufficient gum tissue to work within the recessed area, a pedicle graft may also be used. This technique allows Dr. Haynes to take tissue from the surrounding gum, pulling the tissue over the recessed space and stitching it into place.

Recovery from Soft Tissue Grafting

You will be able to go home after your soft tissue graft is completed, but if you were sedated for your procedure, you will need someone else to drive you. You will be given a prescription for oral pain medication to keep you comfortable for the first few days, and Dr. Haynes will advise you to stick with soft foods for a week or two to avoid irritating the area.  Once your healing is complete, regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings should keep your gums in top health and help to prevent future issues.

When your gums are in top health, you will look and feel better as well. If receding gums are causing you discomfort or embarrassment, contact Radiance Smiles Center at 970-247-9549 to find out if soft tissue grafting is the right treatment for you.