What is Tissue Grafting?
Gum tissue grafting (also known as gum grafting or periodontal grafting) is a procedure in which gum tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and sewn in place where the gum line has receded or worn away. There are three primary types of gum tissue grafts:
Connective Tissue Grafts: The most common type of tissue graft, this procedure involves cutting a flap into the roof of the mouth and taking tissue from underneath, which is then sewn into place around the exposed tooth
Free Gingival Grafts: Similar to connective tissue grafts, this procedure involves taking tissue directly from the surface of the palate rather than cutting a flap to get at the tissue underneath
Pedicle Grafts: Used in cases where the patient has a significant amount of gum tissue near the exposed tooth, this involves cutting a flap in the surrounding gums and pulling one side over to cover the root.
How do you prepare for Tissue Grafting?
You will begin with a periodontal consultation in order to determine whether you are a good candidate for gum grafts. A detailed examination of the gums will be performed to decide which method of tissue grafting is most appropriate. Periodontal grafts are typically performed under local anesthetic, meaning that you do not usually have to fast prior to the procedure. However, you may need to have someone accompany you to the appointment to give you a ride home if you are going to be receiving sedation.
Why is Tissue Grafting performed?
When the root of a tooth is exposed by the gums receding or wearing down, it can contribute to a number of ongoing problems, including further decay, tooth sensitivity, unattractive appearance, and a greater risk of tooth loss. A gum tissue graft can be performed to restore your gum line and protect your teeth from these problems.
What can you expect during Tissue Grafting?
After administering local anesthetic and in some cases a sedative to help you relax, your surgeon will perform either a connective tissue graft, a free gingival graft, or a pedicle graft, depending on your needs. The procedure is generally completed in less than an hour and a half. Once the graft is sutured in place, your dentist will use an antibacterial rinse to sterilize your mouth and give you instructions for aftercare.
What is the followup and recovery like for Tissue Grafting?
Your dentist will give you detailed instructions on diet, hygiene, and other aspects of aftercare. These often include eating soft foods and avoiding brushing or flossing the affected gum line area until the gums have fully healed (typically 1-2 weeks). If you have had tissue removed from palate, you may have some discomfort similar to the feeling of burning your mouth on a hot slice of pizza, but this should subside within a couple days. Persistent bleeding or swelling that lasts more than a couple days should be reported to your dentist immediately.
What are the potential risks for Tissue Grafting?
This is a quite low-risk surgical procedure, but complications such as infection may occur in rare cases. Any unexpected bleeding should be reported to your dentist right away. There is also a slight chance that the graft may not take to the new site, requiring the procedure to be performed again. If you are not happy with the appearance of the gumline after it has healed, you may want to discuss gingivoplasty surgery to correct it.
Are there related treatments to Tissue Grafting?
Gum tissue grafting is one of a number of periodontal surgery procedures offered by Beacon Dental, including crown lengthening surgery and gingivoplasty.