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Soft Tissue Grafts

Gum recession can happen for a number of reasons. The most common issue that causes this problem is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes inflammation of the gums, and your gums pull away from your teeth. This allows bacteria to get below the gum line and infect your gums, teeth and jawbone. Your gums may also recede due to aggressive brushing, certain health conditions or simply aging. As your gums recede, your teeth have a longer appearance and their roots become exposed. Exposed roots leave you sensitive to both hot and cold foods and drinks, as well as those that are salty, spicy and acidic. At Midwest Periodontics, Dr. Southard can perform a soft tissue graft to reverse the effects of gum recession and restore your smile to its former beauty.

What is a soft tissue graft?

A soft tissue graft is a procedure in which tissue from another part of your mouth, usually the roof of your mouth or surrounding healthy gum tissue, is removed and then stitched over the teeth where recession has occurred. Under some circumstances, you may require the use of donor tissue from another individual. As the site heals, the donor tissue grows into existing gum tissue and restores your gums to a healthy state.

Types of Soft Tissue Grafts

There are three types of soft tissue grafts:

•  A connective tissue graft. In this procedure, an incision is made in the roof of your mouth and the tissue underneath is removed. The tissue is stitched onto the gums and the flap at the roof of your mouth is closed.
•  A free gingival graft. This procedure also uses tissue from the roof of your mouth, but rather than cutting a flap and using the tissue underneath, it uses the tissue directly at the roof of your mouth.
•  A pedicle graft. This type of graft uses surrounding healthy gum tissue to cover exposed roots. Gum tissue is cut and moved around to achieve this.

Benefits of Soft Tissue Grafts

Soft tissue grafts offer several benefits:

•  Your mouth is healthier. After a periodontal cleaning, used to clean your teeth of plaque, tartar and bacteria, a soft tissue graft restores your gums to their normal state, and prevents further loss. As the gums attach back to the teeth, a graft also saves the integrity of your jawbone and protects the roots of your teeth.
•  You can eat and drink what you like again. Exposed tooth roots lead to sensitivity to certain foods and beverages. A gum graft covers your roots and restores your ability to eat and drink your favorite items.
•  You can smile confidently again. Receded gums not only give you a toothy appearance, they also age you. When your gums are restored to their natural, healthy state, you will be wanting to smile all the time.

Healing After a Soft Tissue Graft

You will be able to go home the same day, but there are some things you need to keep in mind. You will need to rest for the first few days in order to minimize swelling and bleeding. Pain is common, and can be managed with over the counter pain relievers. We will supply you with care instructions, which will include practices for oral hygiene. Healing should be complete within a few weeks.

Don’t let gum recession get you down. Call us today at (816) 207-4005 for more information and to learn if you might be a candidate.
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Steven Southard DDS, MS
Midwest Periodontics
1006 W St Maartens Dr, Suite A
St Joseph, MO 64506

(816) 207-4005

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