Soft Tissue Grafting: Healthier Smiles, Better Implant Success
A healthy smile needs a healthy foundation to make your smile more attractive, protect your oral health, and make your chances of implant success more likely. When you’ve lost gum tissue, the foundation of your smile, it’s important to rebuild your gums, or you risk oral health problems including gum recession and gum disease. Additionally, a lack of healthy gum tissue can disqualify you from implant placement. If you’re missing healthy gum tissue, the San Luis Obispo dentists at the office of Dr. E. Carrie Ramirez can help rebuild your gums, improving your oral health, your smile, and your chances of implant success by using soft tissue grafting treatment.
Keep reading to learn more about soft tissue grafting and how it can help improve your smile.
What Is Soft Tissue Grafting?
Soft tissue grafting, also known as gum grafting, is a surgical process where soft tissue is taken from areas where it’s abundant (usually from the inside of your mouth) and surgically placed where gum tissue is lacking. This process helps improve your oral health and provide a sturdy foundation for dental implants. If your gum tissue is lacking, your implants won’t be secure and become much more likely to fail.
Benefits of Soft Tissue Grafting
Treats Gum Disease – Soft tissue grafting can be used as part of preventative and therapeutic gum care to restore gum tissue lost to gum disease and help prevent gum recession from worsening.
Improves Your Smile – When the health of your gum tissue improves, your entire smile will look better.
Prevents Sensitivity – The transplanted soft tissue will help prevent pain and sensitivity.
Prevents Decay – The transplanted gum tissue can protect the roots of your teeth, helping to prevent decay.
Increased Chances of Implant Success – Healthy gum tissue helps ensure your dental implants integrate properly, improving your chances of implant success.
Different Types of Soft Tissue Grafting
Connective Tissue Graft – Involves cutting a small flap into the roof of your mouth. Your dentists will take tissue from behind the flap, surgically transplant it to the area where it’s needed, and the flap will be sewn shut. This method is less invasive and is the most commonly performed kind of soft tissue graft.
Free gingival graft – Involves taking tissue directly from the roof of your mouth without making a flap to hide the site of tissue removal. This is done because the soft tissue on the roof of your mouth is usually more resilient and, in cases where there’s a risk of significant recession, more resilient tissue is advantageous.
Pedicle graft – Involves making a flap in an area where gum tissue is abundant and stretching it to cover an adjacent area where gum tissue is lacking. This is the least invasive form of gum grafting because the tissue is merely stretched rather than transplanted. This method preserves blood flow to the tissue, greatly increasing the chances of success.
Allograft – Involves taking the soft tissue from a donor source. From there, the donated tissue is surgically attached to the site where gum tissue is lacking. Allografting can be advantageous because it requires that none of your own soft tissue be taken from other parts of your body. However, it takes more work to ensure that the graft will be compatible.
Frequently Asked Questions
On average the time it takes for a soft-tissue graft to heal is one to two weeks. However, the time can vary from person to person, based on multiple factors, including how well you care for your teeth and gums post-op and the type of soft tissue graft you undergo. Be sure to follow any advice given to you by your San Luis Obispo dentist to ensure your healing process goes smoothly.
Signs of a failed soft tissue graft may include:
- Large patches of loose white tissue coming off your tooth
- Persistent redness and/or swelling at the surgical site
- Root re-exposure
- Surgical dressing coming off early
It’s important to be on the lookout for signs of a failed soft tissue graft so your San Luis Obispo dentist can make a better effort to preserve it. If you believe you’ve noticed signs of failed soft tissue grafting, contact our San Luis Obispo office by dialing (805) 549-8483.
Soft tissue grafts are often incredibly successful, sporting an average success rate of 90 – 98 percent with failure rates usually staying below two percent. This is especially true when the soft tissue graft is performed by skilled dentists like the kind found at the office of E. Carrie Ramirez, DDS. However, the success of your soft-tissue graft will also depend on how well your graft is cared for during the post-op period.
You can help your soft tissue graft heal faster by adhering the following guidelines:
- Stick to soft foods and a liquid diet
- Avoid harsh brushing and flossing at the surgical site
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, hot and cold temperatures, caffeine, and sucking on straws
- Use ice packs and pain medication to control swelling
- Avoid strenuous activity
- Follow the directions given to you by your San Luis Obispo dentist
- After the first 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water after every meal
Call Us For Tissue Grafting & Enjoy A Better, Healthier Smile
With soft tissue grafting, you can enjoy better oral health, increase your chances of implant success, and smile better than ever. Our dentists offer their combined decades of dental expertise and in-depth training to patients from San Luis Obispo and surrounding areas such as Santa Margarita, Arroyo Grande, and Pismo Beach, CA.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of soft-tissue grafting, contact our San Luis Obispo office by dialing (805) 549-8483. You can also request a consultation by filling out the contact form in the upper right-hand corner and one of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly. We look forward to improving your gum health, to help you achieve a better smile and implant success.