In dentistry, soft tissue grafting, also sometimes known as gum grafting, is a procedure that involves taking soft tissue from another part of your body, usually the roof of the mouth, and grafting it directly onto your gums in the area that requires additional tissue. Soft tissue grafting can be both functional and cosmetic in nature and is a fairly common and straightforward process.
We are delighted to be able to offer soft tissue grafting performed by our experienced dentistry team here at our offices in Wesley Chapel and Tampa, FL.
When might soft tissue grafts be required?
There are several different situations in which you might be recommended to consider soft tissue grafting. These are:
When you are diagnosed with gum recession
Gum recession is characterized by the soft tissue of the gum pulling away from the edge of teeth. This creates pockets of space between the two that enable food particles and bacteria to get trapped, increasing the likelihood of dental disease, decay and more. It is a gum disease that is the major contributing factor in the development of gum recession, which can cause teeth to look abnormally long as well as creating issues with your dental health. Other causes of gum recession include excessive/hard brushing of your teeth, aging and poor tooth positioning.
If you require dental implants
Dental implants are primarily reliant on the strength of bone in the jaw to keep the implant posts in place. However, you still must have enough gum tissue so that the post is covered and not visible once the crown is placed. As such, some patients require soft tissue grafts ahead of their dental implant surgery.
If you have particularly long crowns and dislike the look of your smile
Our teeth are fairly unique to us, and while some people have a fairly even gum line, other patients may have teeth that look abnormally long and very little gum tissue. Soft tissue grafting can be used as a form of cosmetic enhancement to make the teeth appear a standard length.
Benefits of soft tissue grafts
There are a variety of benefits of choosing soft tissue grafts. Here are some of the main benefits associated with the procedure:
If you have receding gums, you may find that some of the roots of your teeth are exposed. This can cause significant pain or discomfort since the root is extremely sensitive to different temperatures and bacteria. Adding gum tissue to the area can eliminate these problems and help you remain comfortable when eating and drinking.
Gum health is extremely important, but something that is often overlooked in favor of the teeth. Dental disease, also known as periodontal or gum disease, is a progressive dental condition that can destroy the soft tissue of your gums very quickly, as well as causing a lot of unpleasant and debilitating symptoms. It can even have consequences for your overall health and wellbeing. When you opt for soft tissue grafting in combination with professional cleaning treatments, you can benefit from significantly healthier gums.
A more attractive smile
A smile is considered one of our greatest attributes and an attractive smile is hugely desirable. Soft tissue grafting can re-augment the gum tissue so that your smile line is more symmetrical.
What you can expect to happen in a soft tissue grafting procedure
Soft tissue grafting is an invasive procedure and is usually performed under local anesthetic with or without sedation. This will ensure that you are calm and comfortable for the duration of the process.
Once you are suitably anesthetized, our dentist will take an area of soft tissue from a pre-determined area, which is usually the roof of the mouth, and then then grafted into the natural tissue of your gums in the desired location and molded to fit the natural curves of your teeth. The graft is inserted into a pre-made pocket into the gum tissue. Platelet-rich growth factors are then applied topically. These stimulate natural tissue growth and promote good healing. Further tissue-stimulating proteins may also be added if necessary. Once the graft if stitched into place, you may have your mouth packed to protect the area.
You should be able to go home the same day and will be given pain medications to take along with very specific instructions with how to look after your mouth and gums. This will involve advice on what you should and shouldn’t eat and how to clean your teeth. You may also be given antibiotics to reduce your risk of a post-operative infection.
If you would like to learn more about soft tissue grafting, or if you would like to determine if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices where our friendly and reassuring team will be happy to assist you.