Soft Tissue Grafting

Soft tissue grafts, often called gum grafts, are a very common procedure with a variety of uses. Two main types of soft tissue graft exist, and each has a different indication. The “connective tissue graft” is most commonly used to cover the exposed root of a tooth that has undergone recession. This is a very predictable procedure, although there are limitations that must be evaluated and discussed with the patient before starting surgery. The “free gingival graft” is not free, unfortunately, but a different type of gum graft that is used most commonly to increase the thickness and quality of tissue in areas where it is thin. Thin tissue is much more prone to recession and inflammation and thus a soft tissue graft is often prescribed in these areas to prevent future recession. Free gingival grafts are also indicated if a crown or filling is to be put on a given tooth and the gum tissue around the tooth in question is not deemed to be strong enough, or prior to orthodontic treatment if the gum tissue is too thin to support tooth movement.