Soft tissue grafting is an inlay or onlay procedure in which tissue is surgically placed under the gum. Soft tissue grafting can be used for periodontal disease or to reduce the appearance of a space between your teeth. However, its more common use is to remedy the effects of gum recession.
The Soft Tissue Grafting Procedure
Techniques for soft tissue grafting vary. However, the most common method involves creating a space between the gum and tooth. This space is then filled with soft tissue, either from a small biopsy taken from inside your mouth, or from another part of your own mouth.
The soft tissue grafting procedure is performed in a similar manner to other gum surgery. The gum tissue is numbed with a local anaesthetic, and an opening is made in the gum tissue. The graft is then placed in the opening. The gum tissue is sutured over this area, and the area is covered with gauze.
Soft Tissue Grafting Recovery
After the procedure, your gums may be swollen, and you may experience mild to moderate discomfort. Recovery from soft tissue grafting can vary quite a bit depending on the type of graft used and the severity of gum recession. Soft tissue grafting is a serious surgical procedure and will likely result in some swelling. Typically, there is pain associated with this procedure, which should be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.
Caring for Your Teeth After a Gum Graft
After the procedure, you gums may swell with an added mild to moderate discomfort. Until the swelling goes down, you should avoid exerting any pressure on the area. While your teeth may be tender for a couple of days, the pain should subside in a week or so.
However, it may take several weeks or months before the soft tissue graft has fully integrated into your gum tissue. During this time, you may need to use a soft-bristled toothbrush or water sprayer or ask your oral surgeon to recommend a special oral cleaning regimen.
Risks and Complications of Gum Grafting
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with soft tissue grafting. These include:
1. Tooth sensitivity
5. Excessive bleeding during the procedure
6. Asymmetrical healing
7. Poor cosmetic result
While gum grafting is considered a safe and effective procedure, it's important that you speak with your dentist before undergoing the procedure. Understand the risks and discuss your concerns with your dentist, so you can have the proper assurance and guidance.
Should You Get Soft Tissue Grafting Done?
The success of gum grafting depends on several factors, such as how much gum tissue has receded, how deep the recession is, how much tissue can be removed (if any), and how much soft tissue can be added. These factors will determine whether the gum tissue can be successfully covered and re-anchor to the bone.
If you're still wondering about soft tissue grafting, speak with your dentist. They will be able to provide you with a proper recommendation about whether you are a good candidate for soft tissue grafting. However, remember that the success of your gum grafting will depend on how well you follow your dentist's instructions, so follow their guidelines!
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