tissue grafting Picture of adult woman having a visit at the dentist's

Tissue Grafting

Gum recession is not only a cosmetic issue for many people, but also a potential oral health issue that will have them calling their periodontist. A simple tissue grafting surgery is the preferred method for correcting gum recession. Here is a closer look at the tissue grafting process and why your dentist in Vero Beach or Melbourne might recommend the procedure.

Gum Recession

When a person’s gums recede, it will eventually start to expose the roots of the teeth. Oral health problems will then begin with tooth sensitivity. If the recession continues unchecked, it can eventually lead to tooth loss. Many people do not realize that their gums are receding, because it is a slow and gradual process. Your dentist is more likely to notice the issue before you do, and will likely refer you to a specialist for a tissue graft.

Types of Gum Tissue Grafting

Here’s a look at the three most common types of gum tissue grafting surgery.

Connective-Tissue Grafting

This type of grafting surgery uses tissue from underneath the roof of the mouth (the palate). A small flap in the palate is opened with an incision, tissue for the graft is removed and then the palate flap is stitched shut. This type of tissue is called subepithelial tissue, and it is stitched directly to the gums surrounding the exposed tooth root.

Free Gingival Grafting

For people who have thin gum material, tissue can be taken directly from the palate for a graft (rather than subepithelial tissue from beneath the palate). That tissue is then attached to the gums to enlarge them.

Pedicle Grafting

A pedicle graft uses gum tissue from nearby the affected tooth. A flap is cut in the gum tissue and then that tissue is stretched vertically or horizontally to cover an exposed tooth root. The flap is then stitched in place. This type of graft is used when a person has plenty of excess gum tissue near the exposed tooth.

Tissue Bank

Another option that some patients prefer, rather than taking tissue from their own palate or gums, is to use tissue from a tissue bank. This can make the procedure quicker in some ways. Your dentist might recommend the use of tissue-stimulating proteins in order to stimulate the body’s natural growth capabilities. Every patient is different, and your periodontist in Vero Beach or Melbourne will discuss all the available options with you.

Recovery After Tissue Grafting Surgery

It takes most people between one and two weeks to fully recover from a tissue grafting surgery. You can go home immediately after the procedure and back to work the following day. You will have to make some lifestyle changes for a couple of weeks, and will most likely be given a prescription for antibiotics to prevent an infection.

As far as pain is concerned, it depends on which type of surgery was performed. If you’ve ever burned the roof of your mouth on a hot slice of pizza, that’s what it will feel like for a few days if the graft involved tissue from your palate. With a pedicle graft, pain should be minimal or nonexistent. Over-the-counter pain medication can help to manage any discomfort.

You won’t be able to brush or floss your teeth on the gumline where the surgery was performed, right away. You will need to wait until the graft is fully healed. Your periodontist will recommend a specialized mouthwash to use to control plaque during the healing process.

You’ll have to change up your diet for a couple of weeks to allow the gums to heal as well. You will need to avoid hot foods and drinks. Stick to cool and soft foods like cottage cheese, Jell-O, yogurt and cold pasta. Avoid anything crunchy or that requires a a lot of chewing.

When to Call Your Periodontist in Vero Beach or Melbourne, FL

Most people don’t experience any complications from a gum tissue graft, since it’s a fairly straightforward and simple procedure. However, if you experience any bleeding that doesn’t stop after applying pressure for 20 minutes, or if there is more pain or swelling than expected, you should call our office for a quick follow-up.

Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment

If you are experiencing tooth discomfort related to receding gums or if your dentist has referred you to Vero VIP Implants & Periodontics, contact us to schedule an appointment. We have convenient locations in Vero Beach and Melbourne.