Restore the Health and Look of Your Gums with Soft Tissue Grafting

Whether your gums are damaged and require repair, or you are unhappy with how they affect your smile, soft tissue grafting can help your gums look and feel their best. Dr. Michael Pikos and his surgical team perform soft tissue grafting at their Tampa, FL (Tampa Bay Area Florida Offices). The various soft tissue grafting procedures and your candidacy can be reviewed during your consultation.

The Purpose of Soft Tissue Grafting

“Soft tissue grafting, also called gum graft surgery, is performed for one of two reasons: to protect a patient’s teeth from the damaging effects of gum recession or to enhance the appearance of their smile. Placing healthy gum tissue on top of thin or damaged gums helps stimulate new growth.”

Gum recession occurs when the tissue around the teeth pulls away, typically due to inflammation caused by a bacterial infection. As a result, more of the tooth, and sometimes the root, are exposed, leaving the entire structure vulnerable to infection and decay. Since gum recession is a gradual process, patients may not notice until the later stages. Left untreated, it can lead to increased sensitivity to temperature changes in the teeth, tooth loss, and damage to the supporting bone.

Soft tissue grafting is a relatively straightforward procedure. The tissue can be drawn from either the patient’s own body or from a donor bank.

Cosmetically, some people are dissatisfied with the appearance of their gums, either because of the effects of gum recession or genetics. Dr. Pikos and his team believe that the gums are to the teeth as curtains are to a window: a frame for the centerpiece. An uneven gum line can leave a smile asymmetric, while a low line can make the teeth appear unusually long. Sometimes, soft tissue grafting can be performed in conjunction with other procedures or regenerative surgeries.

The Procedure: What to Expect

Soft tissue grafting is a relatively straightforward procedure. After administering an anesthetic, we will remove the graft from its original source and suture it into place on top of the exposed portions of the teeth in the treatment site. In some cases, we can apply proteins which stimulate tissue growth on top of the treated gums, to help assist the healing process.

The tissue for a gum graft can be drawn from either the patient’s own body or from an outside donor bank. If taken from the patient, the graft is usually one of three types:

Connective tissue: This graft is taken from the roof of a patient’s mouth. A small flap is created to remove a small piece of epithelial tissue from beneath the flap. The flap is then sutured closed, and the extracted tissue is placed on top of the treatment site.

Free gingival: Similar to the connective tissue graft, this tissue is also extracted from the roof of the mouth. But rather than tissue from underneath the flap, the graft is taken from the topmost layer and placed over the treatment site. This type of graft is usually performed on patients whose gums are thin and require a substantial amount of tissue.

Pedicle: Rather than the roof of the mouth, this graft is taken from nearby gum tissue. With this procedure, we make an incision and then stretch the tissue over the treatment site. A pedicle graft is typically reserved for patients who have plenty of healthy gum tissue nearby. If the damage is more extensive, other sources are usually preferred.

While patients can return home immediately after the procedure, they will require a ride home from a family member or friend while the sedation wears off. We will review your post-operative care instructions with you prior to the procedure, and will send you home with instructions as well. Most patients heal quickly and can maintain their surgery results through regular dental care.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

The team of oral surgeons at Coastal Jaw Surgery strives to provide top quality surgical care to every patient. If you are concerned about the health or appearance of your gums, please contact us today to schedule your consultation at our Palm Harbor, Trinity, or Spring Hill location. You can call us anytime at 1-800-NEW-LOOK (Outside Florida: 727-877-0011) or send us a message using the form below.