In addition to bone grafting procedures, Dr. Saeda Basta of St. Mary Dental provides patients with options for soft tissue grafting. Depending on the underlying cause of dental problems, this treatment provides a number of benefits for patients. We have created this guide to help patients understand the gum graft procedure and when it may be necessary.
What is a Gum Graft?
Gum grafts involve transplanting soft tissues from the mouth onto a section where the gums have receded or have been otherwise affected by periodontal disease. Donor tissue used in the graft is usually taken from the roof of the mouth, a process known as the subepithelial connective-tissue graft. This is the most common version of the procedure and comes with an excellent success rate.
When is a Gum Graft Needed?
Soft tissue grafting commonly follows treatment for severe periodontal disease. For many patients, gum recession is a gradual process and goes unnoticed. Exposure from lack of supporting tissue not only harms the health of the tooth, but makes their structure less stable.
Two of the main reasons for gum grafts include:
Exposed Roots: Gum tissue protects the roots of teeth and the sensitive underlying layer of dentin from bacteria and debris within the mouth. Without a healthy amount of gingiva covering the roots, many patients find it uncomfortable to eat hot and cold foods. Gingival recession will eventually lead to bone loss as well. A graft involves placing new soft tissue over the roots, encouraging continued growth of healthy tissue.
Cosmetic Adjustments: If significant gum disease or other condition has caused recession, patients are left with an elongated appearance of the crown. Placing additional soft tissue helps balance your smile, creating a proportional, natural appearance.
After undergoing treatment, the grafting site must be properly cared for to ensure that the transplanted tissue properly integrates and does not become infected. Dissolvable sutures are often used during the procedure. Patients should not be alarmed if their stitches seem to come apart after a few days. If the suture comes apart prematurely, or the graft shifts out of place, contact our Covina dentist immediately for an appointment.
When eating, avoid chewing or biting with the treated area if possible. Spicy, hard, and sticky foods should also be avoided to minimize the effect of your diet on the treatment site. Limit physical activities to ensure that the graft does not become dislodged. Light aerobic exercise like walking can be used as an alternative. In order to keep the site clean, gently rinse after 24 hours, but do not brush or floss near the treated tissue. Additional instructions for care will be provided before your procedure.
The only way to know if you truly need a soft tissue graft is with the advice of an experienced professional. If you have undergone extensive treatment for periodontal disease, and your gums have receded below the crown, contact St. Mary Dental today. Dr. Saeda Basta provides comprehensive soft tissue grafting procedures for patients throughout Covina and the neighboring communities. Schedule a consultation today!