Soft Tissue Grafting

Soft Tissue Grafting

Soft Tissue Grafting

San Luis Obispo, CA

As a periodontist, Dr. Sayre-Carstairs might recommend soft tissue grafting if your teeth are displaying any signs of gum disease. The procedure protects teeth from the effects of gum recession – a symptom of gum disease that leads to gum tissues pulling back from teeth, leaving teeth roots exposed to bacteria and acids that can damage them. We can help to relieve symptoms of gum recession as well as restore the appearance of the gums in one's smile.

The recession takes place gradually over time, but it eventually leads to exposed teeth roots that create poor aesthetics and sensitive teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to teeth falling out. We can use a soft tissue graft to help prevent this.

To learn if a soft tissue graft is the right treatment for your needs, call us at 805-952-1147 can schedule an appointment today.

How Soft Tissue Grafting Works

There are three main types of soft tissue grafts used in dentistry. The type a periodontist or dentist recommends often depends on the specific issue the patient is dealing with, and the area in the mouth that needs additional soft tissues. These include free gingival grafts, connective-tissue grafts, and pedicle grafts.

No matter the type of procedure, we will ensure the patient does not feel any sensations or pain by numbing the area. Depending on the patient's individual needs, they may receive one of these three procedures.

Connective-Tissue Grafts

This procedure can treat teeth roots that experience exposure due to gum recession. It involves extracting tissues at the palate (roof of the mouth) from under a flap created by the dentist. The next step involves stitching the gum tissue to exposed teeth roots.

Free Gingival Grafts

These also involve taking healthy gum tissues from the top palate, but instead of making an incision and extracting gum tissues from underneath a flap, the periodontist takes tissues directly from the roof of the mouth. This procedure is typically recommended when the patient has thin gum tissues.

Pedicle Grafts

This involves using gum tissue from around the exposed root to cover it up. The periodontist makes a small flap into the patient's gums known as a pedicle. The flap is cut in a way that leaves one end intact. The tissue is then pulled over the exposed root and sewn in place. The procedure is recommended when the patient has lots of healthy bone tissues around the exposed root.

Recovering From a Soft Tissue Graft

While a soft tissue graft is typically an outpatient procedure, patients will still need to follow a few steps to ensure the gum graft heals properly. Most patients will want to take the rest of the day to recover, as the healing process can take one or two weeks. We may provide the patient with medication, post-operative care instructions, and dietary recommendations.

As a general rule, patients are advised not to brush or floss around the area until it has healed. We may also prescribe antibiotics or a mouth rinse to help control plaque. Patients need to eat soft and liquid foods for the first one or two weeks after soft tissue surgery. Examples of foods that are safe to eat after getting tissue grafts include yogurt, cheese, cooked vegetable, eggs, and mashed potatoes.

The type of graft will determine how much discomfort, swelling, or pain the patient has to deal with during the recovery process. Patients who have tissues removed from their palate are more likely to deal with pain during the first week or so of recovery. Some of our past patients have described the feeling created by the periodontist removing tissues from the top of the mouth as a bad case of pizza burn.

The tissue extraction site typically heals quickly, and dentists will provide prescription painkillers when needed. Over-the-counter painkillers can also be helpful. It typically takes about one to two weeks for patients to heal from soft tissue grafting. It does have a limited impact on the patient's day-to-day activities. They should be able to return to their regular routine the day after the tissue graft.

Call Us Today

Soft tissue grafts can help to treat teeth roots that have been exposed as a result of gum disease or gum recession. Give us a call or drop by our San Luis Obispo clinic to learn more about soft tissue grafting and if it is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are soft tissue grafts painful?

Gum tissue grafting is usually a painless experience for the patient since it involves the use of anesthetics. The patient might experience some pain and discomfort afterward if we extract the tissue from their palate. Fortunately, we can help offer treatment options to relieve any soreness or pain during the healing process.

How long is recovery after soft tissue grafting?

It takes most patients about two weeks to recover from tissue grafts. The periodontist will schedule a follow-up appointment to evaluate how well the patient has healed, and if the procedure was successful.

How long will my diet be restricted after tissue grafts?

Patients need to stick to a liquid and soft food diet for the first two weeks after gum grafting. Most patients are able to go back to their regular diet once this period has passed.

What type of dentist does gum grafting?

Many dentists refer their patients to a periodontist when they need gum grafts. These are dentists with additional training about issues that affect teeth roots and the gums.

What happens when people do not get needed gum grafts?

The aesthetics of the person's teeth are affected first, then continued gum recession can lead to the tooth becoming loose or falling out. Due to this, we recommend seeking professional treatment as soon as possible.