What is Soft Tissue Grafting?
When a patient experiences recession of the gingival tissue or gums, the body loses its natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. This leaves the teeth more susceptible to infection and damage. Minor recession may not require any treatment because there is still some healthy gingiva that remains and protects the tooth. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the tooth’s first line of defense against bacteria is lost. If the recession becomes significant it can predispose a tooth to worsening recession and expose the root of the tooth. The root of the tooth is much softer than the hard enamel and when exposed it can lead to cavities on the root and other damage to the root. In addition, having the root of the tooth exposed can cause many harmful effects such as, sensitivity to hot and cold and an unpleasant appearance of long brown teeth.
A gingival graft is designed to solve the problems associated with gum recession. A thin piece of tissue is taken from either the roof of the mouth or from a donor source and moved to where it is needed. This helps provide a stable band of healthy tissue around the teeth that need it the most to ensure long-term success.
Soft tissue grafting is an extremely versatile procedure that has many uses. Recent developments in dental technology have made soft tissue grafting more predictable and less invasive. Some of the main benefits of soft tissue grafting include:
- Improved Cosmetics- Gum recession can cause the teeth to look very long and brown. Many times teeth appear uneven in size. After gum grafting, the smile appears more symmetrical and healthy.
- Improved Periodontal Health- Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that can destroy soft tissue very rapidly. Soft tissue grafting can cease tissue and bone loss and protect exposed roots from further complications.
- Increased Comfort- Root exposure can cause substantial pain and discomfort because the root of the tooth is used to being protected by the gums and bone. Eating hot, cold or acidic foods can cause severe discomfort. After gum grafting, patients experience decreased tooth sensitivity.