If you suffer from gum disease, soft tissue grafting can help restore your gums as good as new. It’s a way of reconstructing gum tissue that has eroded as a result of excessive gingival recession. This is especially beneficial if your gums have worn away to expose the root, which can make your tooth look long. Exposed roots can be especially sensitive to hot or cold foods or liquids, as well as other pain.
To be honest, gum surgery sounds a lot worse than it actually is. We’ll numb the area so you don’t feel a thing. We can even give you a sedative to help you relax if you’re nervous. You’ll be able to go home on the same day. The process is really more like a regular dental care appointment than actual surgery.
3 Types of Soft Tissue Grafting
There are 3 types of soft tissue grafting, including: connective tissue grafts, free gingival grafts, and pedicle grafts. Let’s look at these in detail.
Connective tissue grafts are the most common treatment for exposed roots. We cut a flap of skin at the roof of your mouth — an area known as subepithelial connective tissue. We then stitch this skin to the gum tissue of the exposed tooth.
Similar to connective tissue grafts, free gingival grafts remove tissue directly from the roof of the mouth that is then attached to the treatment area on the gum line. This method is used if you have thin gums to begin with and need extra padding for protection.
Pedicle grafts use skin from around the gumline and the tooth that needs repaired, rather than the area around the roof of the mouth. We partially cut the gum tissue, known as the pedicle so that one edge remains attached. We then pull the skin down around the exposed tooth. This approach is ideal for people who have enough gum tissue to work with
Care & Recovery
While you may return home immediately after the procedure, you’ll have to take special care of the area where the tissue was grafted from, as well as your gum line. Dr. Puckett will give you detailed instructions on how to best care for healing. This includes a special diet and limiting certain physical activity. You can treat any pain with over-the-counter medications. We believe in the efficacy of natural healing options, including natural medications.
The amount of pain you’ll feel depends on the area the tissue was grafted from, as well as the amount of tissue removed. You will essentially have a wound in your mouth that feels like you burned it from hot pizza or soup. It tends to heal quickly.
Do You Smoke? Smokers Have a Difficult Time Healing
If you smoke, please be advised that you can have a difficult time healing from soft tissue grafting. This is because smoking constricts the blood vessels, making it harder for your mouth to heal from soft tissue grafting, dental implant surgery, and other oral surgeries. If you smoke, we strongly urge you to quit to help the healing process following your oral surgery.