Soft-Tissue Grafts


Gums recession occurs for many reasons such as: periodontitis, aging, tooth position, and trauma to the gums, which includes overzealous brushing or use of hard-bristle toothbrushes. Gingival recession may lead to exposure of the root surface of the tooth/teeth, which can lead to root surface decay, and temperature sensitivity to either cold or hot, or both. If this occurs on the front teeth, it will usually result in an aesthetic problem. A soft-tissue graft can be added to the area of the recession to prevent further problems. When your gums are thinner, there is an increased possibility of gingival recession. Soft-tissue grafts may also be suggested by your dentist to prevent future problems.


There are various soft-tissue grafts including; free-gingival, connective-tissue, and pedicle, grafts.

Free-gingival grafting, involves removing a small piece or gingival tissue from the side of the palate, and preparing the site that is to receive the gingival tissue, and suturing it into place. This procedure is usually applied when the gum tissue are very thin and cannot be taken from around the adjacent teeth.

Connective-tissue grafting involves incising the palate on the side and cutting out a flap forming a door shape. The connective tissue under the surface gingival is then removed and stitched to the receiving site, under the surface gingiva. The donor site is then stitched using the surface gingival that wasn�t removed. This procedure is mostly used to treat root surface exposure.

Pedicle graft involves using tissue flaps from the adjacent teeth on either side. The pedicle is partially cut away, placed over the receiving site and sutured into place. This is usually the most successful of all soft-tissue grafts, because the existing blood supply is not severed, increasing the survival rate. This procedure can only be performed if there is enough adjacent tissue to use.

The periodontitis then uses a periodontal packing to cover the donor and receiving site to protect the areas and promote better healing. This packing is usually worm from 1-2 weeks.

Are They Painful?

On the palate, if tissue was removed, it will feel like a pizza burn at the surgical area. Your periodontist may prescribe some pain medication to help you get over the discomfort or pain. .

Post-Surgical Care:

Keep your mouth as clean as possible and make sure to properly brush and floss all of the other teeth in your mouth. Be careful around the surgical sites. Your periodontist will most likely prescribe chlorhexidine to help control plaque over the healing period. Your periodontist may also prescribe antibiotics, but not always.

Treatment Side Effects:

Usually there are no side effects from soft-tissue grafting. At times, some gingivoplasty may be required to make the gum tissue more aesthetic.