What Is a Soft Tissue Graft?

Receding gums is one of the most common dental issues that dentists and periodontists deal with. The issue has to do with the gum tissues pulling back, exposing more of the tooth’s root. 

Unfortunately, if your gums are receding, they can create an excellent space for disease-causing bacteria to build up. Unfortunately, if the issue is not treated promptly, the supporting bone structure and soft tissue will be damaged, leading to tooth loss.

The good news is that receding gums can be treated through soft tissue grafts. If you have been fighting gingivitis or periodontal disease, you have probably heard your dentist or periodontist mention it. Here is everything you need to know about soft tissue graft surgery.

What Is Soft Tissue Grafting?

A soft tissue graft is a dental surgical procedure used to treat receding gums. Treating receding gums is needed to eliminate the discomfort associated with an exposed tooth root. The procedure can also improve gum health and even the appearance of a patient’s smile.

Signs You Need a Soft Tissue Graft

As mentioned above, a soft tissue graft is used to treat gum recession. Some of the symptoms that suggest that you may need a soft tissue graft include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Exposed tooth roots

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease or gingivitis, it will first need to be treated before you can get a soft tissue graft.

But as to whether you will get a soft tissue graft or not, it will depend on the extent of the gum recession. If it is not too bad, your dentist might advise you to prevent further recession by simply maintaining high dental hygiene. But if the recession is too bad, then you will be advised to seek soft tissue graft surgery.

What Soft Tissue Grafting Involves?

Soft tissue grafting is usually performed under local anesthesia. Depending on the size of the area that needs to be treated, your dentist or periodontist will advise you on the best anesthesia to use. But before the anesthesia can be administered, deep cleaning will be needed to remove tartar.

Once the anesthesia has been administered, a pocket will be created at the recipient site by making a small incision. The periodontist will then make a split-thickness incision and place the donor tissue between the two sections. The donor is typically obtained from the upper side of the mouth.

Before suturing, growth factors rich in platelets might be applied to stimulate tissue growth. After suturing the wound, surgical material will be placed with the aim of protecting the sensitive area.

The Cost of a Soft Tissue Graft

A gum graft tissue surgery cost in Los Angeles ranges between $600 and $1200. However, it is important to note that this cost is for a single tooth or a small area. Therefore, if the area that needs a soft tissue graft is larger, it might cost more. Besides, if you would like to get your gums trimmed to achieve a more attractive appearance, it might cost you up to $3000 per area. 

Therefore, the cost is not always obvious, and therefore, you will need to discuss it with your dentist or oral surgeon before the procedure can be performed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Soft Tissue Grafting

Is Gum Grafting Painful?

Soft tissue grafting is performed under local anesthesia. Therefore, you will not experience significant discomfort during the procedure. However, during the early days of recovery, you might experience some painful moments, but you will be given pain relievers to manage any potential discomfort.

When Is Gum Grafting Necessary?

Gum grafting is performed to reduce tooth root exposure caused by issues such as periodontal disease and even aggressive brushing. However, the procedure is only necessary if gum recession is too much to be managed through improved dental hygiene alone.

Who Performs Soft Tissue Grafting?

Gum grafting is usually performed by dental professionals such as periodontists and oral surgeons. Since the procedure involves surgery, the person doing it should have the necessary training, experience, and certification. Typically, it is your general dentist who will inform you that you need a soft tissue graft and even refer you to a reliable specialist.

How Long Is Recovery After a Soft Tissue Graft Surgery?

On average, recovering after a soft tissue graft takes about two weeks. However, this can vary from one case to another, depending on factors such as genetics and how much grafting is done. Eating hard, chewy food can negatively affect the healing process. On the other hand, drinking healthy drinks such as green smoothies will speed up the recovery process.

What Is the Goal of Soft Tissue Grafting?

The goal of gum graft surgery is to restore gums after a gum recession. By restoring the gums, you will effectively prevent issues such as tooth loss and bone structure damage. Furthermore, the procedure will give you a more attractive smile.

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