Soft Tissue Grafting

Soft tissue grafting (also known as a gum graft) may be used to protect your teeth from exposure or receding gums caused by a number of issues. Receding gums occur when the tissue surrounding a tooth pulls away from that tooth, which exposes some of the tooth’s roots. This can allow more damage to occur to the bone and teeth and may also cause tooth sensitivity.For many, receding gums affect the aesthetics of your smile. Gum recession is often a sign of a serious issue and if left untreated, it can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Some of the causes of gum recession can include:

  • Periodontal diseases: Bacteria in gum infections, such as Gingivitis (gum disease), destroy the soft tissue and bone that secure your teeth. This is the number one cause of gum recession.
  • Aggressive tooth brushing: Brushing teeth too hard or in the wrong way can cause the gums to recede and the enamel of the teeth to wear more quickly.
  • Hormonal changes: Female hormones secreted during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can cause gum sensitivity and recession.
  • Heredity:Unfortunately, some people are just more susceptible to receding gums. A recent study has shown that as much as 30% of the population is predisposed to gum disease and recession, even with proper tooth and gum care.

To repair the damage already done by gum recession and to prevent further dental issues, a soft tissue graft may be necessary. There are different types of grafts, depending on your specific needs, though a connective-tissue graft is usually the most common.

  • Connective-tissue graft:In this method, a flap of skin is cut away from the roof of your mouth and tissue from underneath. This flap is then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root of the tooth. After the graft has been placed, the flap of skin at the roof of your mouth is then stitched back down.
  • Free gingival graft: This process is similar to the connective-tissue graft, in that they both harvest tissue from the roof of the mouth. However, instead of taking tissue from underneath the top layer of flesh, a small amount of skin is taken directly from the roof of the mouth. This method better benefits people with thinner gum tissue, who need additional tissue to add to the gums.
  • Pedicle grafts: Unlike the free gingival graft, this method is usually only performed on people with plenty of gum tissue near the site of recession. In this procedure, skin from healthy gums near the area that needs repair, is partially cut away and then pulled over or down so that only one side remains attached. It is then stitched into place over the receding tissue.

If you are suffering from gum recession and would like to see if soft tissue grafting would work for you, please call us here at Denver Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (link to contact page)in Denver, Colorado.