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Connective Tissue Grafting

A receding gum line is unattractive in a person’s smile. If that was the only consideration, it might be so much of an issue. However, a receding gum line can also be an early indicator of periodontal disease, especially when accompanied by swelling, irritation, abnormal redness, or bleeding of the gums. This is a warning sign that should never be ignored, because it may be indicative that the current oral hygiene regimen you’re employing is insufficient. In extreme cases, a surgical procedure known as connective tissue grafting can help restore the gum line to a more healthy and aesthetically pleasing configuration.

In a connective tissue grafting procedure, tissue from the roof of the mouth is harvested and grafted onto the gingiva (gum). The site of the harvesting is sutured and the tissue is implanted in such a way that it mimics the natural growth of the gums. This is helpful because it produces a more natural-looking, healthy gum line and a more attractive smile. Connective tissue grafting may be used in conjunction with subgingival scaling, root planing, crown shortening, or other procedures to augment the health, appearance, and function of the mouth, gums, and supporting structures, or as a restorative measure after aggressive surgery to treat periodontal disease.

Because connective tissue grafting affects the soft tissues of the mouth, some patients report swelling, bruising, discoloration, or discomfort after the procedure. These are common side effects, many of which are caused by the implanted tissue adapting to its new environment. During the healing process, the implanted gingival tissue integrates itself into the existing tissue, tapping into the blood supply to that area to facilitate growth and healing. These problems and side effects usually go away within six weeks, but improper postoperative care and other factors may slow or prevent healing.

As with any other oral surgery, the risks, benefits, and preoperative and postoperative instructions will be discussed during the consultation. A comprehensive oral examination and discussion of past medical history can help you and Dr. De Andrade determine whether connective tissue grafting is a viable corrective option for your lifestyle and state of overall health. Be sure to discuss any medications, over the counter or otherwise, you are taking for any reason. If you’re not taking vitamins, C, B-complex, and calcium with magnesium are generally a good idea because they promote faster and more efficient healing as well as good oral and immune health. Based on your medical history, risk factors, and other medications, these suggestions may be modified, so be sure to consult with the Anthem Periodontics staff and your personal physician prior to starting or stopping any medication for any reason.

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