Just like a bone grafting procedure, dentists and periodontists perform soft tissue grafting to replace lost gum tissue. Loss of gum tissue around a tooth can occur due to several reasons:
- Periodontal disease
- Excessive brushing force
- Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
- Trauma or injury
- Using toothpicks to remove food particles stuck between the teeth
When is Soft Tissue Grafting Required?
A soft tissue graft, also known as a gum graft, is required when the gums recede from their position and expose the underlying tooth roots. Gum recession not only affects the overall facial aesthetics and appearance but can also cause root sensitivity and cavities. If there is an extensive recession of the gums that cannot be entirely reversed by the body, then dentists perform a soft tissue graft procedure.
What to Expect During a Soft Tissue Graft Procedure?
Depending on your oral health status and the extent of gum recession, dentists use different types of gum grafts. However, the procedure is essentially the same. During this procedure, your dentist will make you pain-free by administering local anesthesia. Next, they will make an incision over your gums to raise a flap, remove a small piece of soft tissue from the roof of the mouth and attach it to the exposed gums.
Once the graft has been attached, your dentist will thoroughly irrigate the underlying tooth structure to remove plaque and tartar, followed with the application of an antibacterial agent, and finally suturing the gums back to their position.
What to Expect After the Procedure?
A soft tissue grafting procedure does not take long. Once the procedure is complete, your dentist may ask you to wait for about two hours – to ensure that there is no bleeding, and then you will be allowed to go home.
Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics and ask you to eat a soft diet for the next week – to prevent damage to the gum graft. In some cases, dentists also recommend an antibacterial mouthwash to prevent reinfection.
If you feel that you have gum recession or your teeth appear excessively long, then you may be a candidate for a soft tissue grafting procedure. Visit your dentist today to get say goodbye to gum recession, and to enjoy a healthy, lasting smile.
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