Soft tissue grafting is usually performed to fight with gum recession. The patients can experience gum recession as a result of periodontal disease, trauma, aging, or aggressive tooth brushing. The patients with gum recession may experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold. Also, the decay becomes more prevalent in this condition.
To fight with gum recession, soft tissue grafts are used to either cover the exposed roots or develop gum tissue. By using soft tissue grafts the risk for further recession and bone loss, decay, and sensitivity is decreased.
The patients with the following symptoms can be the candidates for soft tissue grafting:
• Gum recession
• Tooth decay
• Family history of gum recession
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If you are suffering from gum recession, your doctors would make a treatment plan according to your needs and choose the best treatment of soft tissue grafts.
There is no detailed preparation needed before soft tissue grafts. There is no specific diet to follow nor a need for fasting. However, the patient should arrange transportation since it would be difficult to drive with the discomfort caused by the procedure.
Soft tissue grafts have three common types that include:
• Free gingival graft: This procedure is usually performed for thickening the present tissue. During this practice, a piece of tissue is taken from the palate and stitched to the grafting spot to help natural growth.
• Pedicle graft: In this technique, the existing local gum tissue is moved to the graft site where the gum recession is. This method is very successful since it does not cause to cut off blood flow in the mouth.
• Connective tissue graft: This type of graft is the most common one. While performing this procedure, the doctor removes a part of connective tissue from a small flap in the mouth and stitch up to the graft site.
After the procedure, the recovery period of soft tissue grafting would take about six weeks in total. During the first couple of weeks of the recovery period, the patient should eat soft, cold foods that would not damage or irritate the graft. In order to prevent infections, your doctor might recommend you using an antimicrobial mouthwash for a few weeks. Also, it is possible to experience some amounts of pain after the procedure but with pain medications, it can be managed.
There are several complications related to soft tissue graft, but these are very rare. Infections after the soft tissue graft are very uncommon. However, if you notice any bleeding from your graft site you should contact your doctor.
Even though it is very rare, sometimes the procedure might be performed again when the graft tissue does not adapt to the graft site appropriately. However, this is very uncommon; usually soft tissue grafts give good results.
After the recovery process, the patients would notice positive changes in their life such as decreased sensitivity to hot and cold foods/drinks, increased comfort and an improved smile which also affects the patient’s self-confidence as well.
-Why do I have gum recession?
Gum recession can be caused by different factors involving a periodontal (gum) disease, poor dental care or aggressive tooth brushing.
-Why do I need a soft tissue graft?
As a result of gum recession, the patient might be experiencing pain and discomfort. With soft tissue graft, the patient would no longer experience pain and sensitivity.