What is connective tissue or soft tissue graft?
A connective tissue graft is a periodontal plastic surgical procedure which involves using connective tissue from the palate to treat gingival recession.
When is a connective tissue graft needed?
- To treat gingival recession – when the gum (or gingiva) has receded down the tooth exposing the root. This can result in severe hot and cold sensitivity and when left untreated can lead to root decay, mobility and even tooth loss.
- To produce a better gingival profile around an implant restoration. Sometimes, especially for anterior implants there may be inadequate gingival thickness along the margin of the implant crown or maybe some exposure of the implant itself resulting in an ‘anesthetic’ appearance. A connective tissue graft can be performed to augment the gingiva and produce a good esthetic outcome.
What does the procedure involve?
Connective tissue grafting is one of the most delicate and complicated procedures performed in the office. Connective tissue is harvested from the palate (roof of the mouth) and grafted over the area of recession. The grafted tissue undergoes reorganization of connective tissue fiber network and forms new attachment into the tissue, a new blood supply provides nutrients to the graft as it heals. Over time the tissue becomes firmer and blends into the surrounding area. Healing can take several weeks and even months before the new tissue is fully integrated. In some cases of severe recession a second procedure may be needed to optimize root coverage and esthetic outcome.