What to Expect During a Soft Tissue Graft
Receding gums can expose the roots of your teeth. Exposed roots can make your teeth appear too long. Besides affecting your smile, exposed roots can make your teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks.2,8
Fortunately, there’s a way to fix exposed roots. It involves removing gum tissue from your palate, or the roof of your mouth, and using that tissue to cover the exposed root. This is called a soft tissue graft.2
A Solution to Reduce Sensitivity
A gum health expert (a periodontist) can perform a soft tissue graft on one or more of your teeth.1,8
Besides helping sensitive teeth, a graft can help protect roots from tooth decay and improve gum health around the grafted teeth. It can also improve the look of your smile by fixing an uneven gum line.2,3,8
The periodontist can perform a soft tissue graft in the office. He will give you medicine to control pain and make you more comfortable.2
Preventing Gum Problems
Receding gums are a common problem, particularly for older adults.3 To prevent exposed roots:
Don’t overbrush. Brush gently twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush, paying attention to the gum line to remove bacterial plaque. Toss your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if the bristles get frayed.5,6 Using an electric toothbrush is also an efficient method for controlling dental plaque.
Floss at least once a day to clean between the teeth and reach slightly under the gum line.5
See your dentist regularly.5 Tell your dentist if you notice your gums receding or your teeth becoming more sensitive. Switching to a toothpaste which has been especially formulated for sensitive teeth might also do the trick.4,7
1 “Frequently Asked General Periodontal Questions.” American Academy of Periodontology. Modified April 13, 2009. www.perio.org/consumer/faq.htm Accessed 2009.
2 “Frequently Asked Questions About Treatment of Periodontal (Gum) Disease.” American Academy of Periodontology. www.perio.org/consumer/faq.htm Accessed 2009.
3 “How to Keep a Healthy Smile for Life.” American Academy of Periodontology www.perio.org/consumer/smileforlife.htm Accessed 2009.
4 “Oral Health and Bone Health.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Reviewed May 2009. www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Oral_Health/default.asp Accessed 2009.
5 “Oral Health Topics A-Z. Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums (Oral Hygiene).” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2624.aspx Accessed 2009.
6“Oral Health Topics A-Z. Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums (Oral Hygiene). Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2624.aspx Accessed 2009.
7 “Oral Health Topics A-Z. Sensitive Teeth.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/3058.aspx?currentTab=1 Accessed 2009.
8 “Soft Tissue Grafts.” American Academy of Periodontology. http://www.perio.org/consumer/grafts.htm Accessed 2009.