Restore Your Gums with Soft Tissue Grafting
For patients of all ages struggling with gum recession, our team at Gulf Coast Periodontics can perform a safe and effective soft tissue grafting procedure. Depending upon your needs, we can transplant your tissue or donor tissue to compromised or fragile areas of your smile, helping to protect you from tooth loss and reduce dental sensitivity. To deliver the most efficient and comfortable procedures in Victoria, TX, we also offer intravenous (IV) sedation, administered by a board certified anesthesiologist. As a periodontist, Dr. Rick H. Heard strives to help his patients achieve a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles and provides customized service during each stage of treatment.
What is Soft Tissue Grafting?
Soft tissue grafting involves the surgical transfer of soft tissue from one part of the mouth to another. We perform this procedure to repair areas of the smile that have sustained gum recession. When gums pull away from the base of the tooth, they can leave tooth roots exposed, resulting in dental sensitivity and discomfort. This condition is commonly caused by periodontal disease, but can also result from inadequate dental care, genetics, and forceful tooth brushing.
If your gums have receded, a soft tissue graft can help to preserve your natural teeth and improve your overall oral health.
Types of Grafts
Depending upon your unique dental needs, we can perform one of several different types of tissue grafting procedures, including:
- Free Gingival Graft: During treatment, we can transfer a thin section of tissue from the roof of the mouth to the compromised gum area. This option is best for patients with thin gum tissue.
- Connective-Tissue Graft: This type of graft is most commonly used to treat exposed tooth roots. During your procedure, we can create a flap on the roof of the mouth and transfer tissue from beneath the flap to the gums.
- Pedicle Graft: This option is useful for patients whose gums are generally healthy and full. Dr. Heard can create a flap in adjacent gum tissue and place it over the exposed tooth root.
For patients with insufficient or fragile gums, Dr. Heard can use donor tissue from a highly-regulated tissue bank.
Who Can Benefit from This Procedure?
If your gums have receded, a soft tissue graft can help to preserve your natural teeth and improve your overall oral health. Ideal candidates include:
- Patients with gum recession or periodontal disease
- Children or teens whose gum tissue cannot support tooth movement during orthodontic treatment
- Patients who have suffered tissue loss due to aggressive tooth brushing
- Patients whose gums have been damaged by heavy smoking
Dr. Heard can also perform soft tissue grafting for aesthetic purposes, including crown lengthening and gum contouring. These procedures can help you achieve a more symmetrical and balanced smile if you have an uneven gum line or elongated teeth.
What to Expect
To ensure your comfort during treatment, we offer intravenous (IV) sedation. We ask that if you do choose to receive sedation, you schedule a friend to drive you to and from your procedure. The length of your procedure will depend upon the extent of gum grafting performed and whether or not you receive sedation. Typically, patients who are sedated can expect their procedure to last under one hour, whereas patients who forgo sedation can expect a treatment time of up to two hours.
For the first three to five days after the procedure, you may experience some soreness or tenderness at the site of grafting and implantation. However, these minor side effect should subside completely within 10 to 14 days. For any discomfort, patients can take over-the-counter pain medication. During the healing period, you should also maintain a soft foods diet and avoid brushing teeth or gums. Instead, we can recommend a special mouth rinse. As an additional defense against infection, we may prescribe an antibiotic to ensure a smooth recovery.
Protect Your Oral Health
If you are struggling with gum recession or simply wish to alter the appearance of your smile, Dr. Heard can design a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals. To learn more about our soft tissue grafting procedures or to schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us today at (361) 573-1014.