Soft Tissue Graft

What is a soft tissue graft?

A soft tissue graft is either tissue that we transplant from the roof of your mouth or we use tissue products such as human skin or cow collagen or pig collagen in order to regenerate the tissue that's lost around the tooth.

Why are we doing a graft?

We're doing a graft because of recession. Recession is typically caused by two reasons. One paradox of disease itself, which results in bone loss. And if you have bone loss around the tooth, typically the soft tissue goes with it and we start to see exposed roots. Or trauma or rough tooth brushing can abrade the gum tissue away, creating root exposure in which we do a soft tissue graft.

Who is a candidate for a soft tissue graft?

A candidate for a soft tissue graft is someone who has recession with a minimal zone of keratinized tissue. Typically we look for patients that have exposed root surfaces that have less than one millimeter of attached tissue around their tooth or have tooth sensitivity.

What are three different types of soft tissue grafts?

We can use an autogenous graft, which is graft that is taken from the roof of the mouth, either a connective tissue graft, which is taken underneath the surface, or a free gingival graft, which is a graft taken from the surface of the tissue, or we can use tissue products such as AlloDerm Mucograft, which is either human skin or pig collagen that we can use to regenerate the lost tissue as a result of the recession.

Does a soft tissue graft hurt?

Typically no. Patients if they have any type of pain at all, they usually have the consistency of a pizza burn on the roof of the mouth if we're taking the tissue from the roof of the mouth. They have to be careful chewing food for about a week. Talking sometimes can be a little bit uncomfortable because the tongue bounces off the roof of the mouth, but in my experience, 99.9% of my patients come back shocked if they have a lot of pain and they don't.

How long does a soft tissue graft usually take?

It usually takes about an hour. Typically a patient comes in, we numb up the tissue, we then harvest the tissue from the roof of the mouth, and then we transplant it to where we need to take it. This meticulous suturing that goes on during the procedure typically can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

What is a soft tissue graft recovery timeline?

Typically it takes about a week. Initially the tissue will look very red and inflamed for the first day, then it starts to look red and white, and then it turns over nice and pink. Typically we put in dissolvable stitches so the stitches will dissolve in about a week, so it's about a week recovery time.

When should I schedule an appointment for a soft tissue graft?

Typically if you identify yourself as having recession, if you're starting to see some root exposure or you have some root sensitivity, then you should make an appointment with me, the periodontal specialist, at (440) 659-1455 and we will do a consultation on you to evaluate your gums.