Oral Connective Tissue Grafting- Not just “Gum Grafting”

Most of us are familiar with someone who is or has experienced recession of their gums (gingiva). Depending on the severity of this condition, grafting of tissue is often performed to correct it. This same technique can be used to optimize a potential dental implant site, either for better implant health, for tooth esthetics, or both. A variety of tissues can be used including autografts (taken from the individual receiving the graft), allografts (processed tissue from another deceased human being), or xenografts (processed tissue taken from an animal; in soft tissue cases generally porcine-from a pig). Autografts can be further subdivided into “full-thickness” tissue harvested from the patient’s palate or “split thickness” (tissue obtained from underneath the surface of the soft tissue of the palate). The type of autograft employed often depends on what the surgeon is attempting to correct. More and more, however, allografts are being used in place of autografts with equivalent results. The advantages of the use of an allograft are that the surgeon does not have to operate on a separate site on the patient receiving the graft in order to harvest tissue. Also, allografts provide an unlimited supply of tissue when extensive areas in the oral cavity need to be treated, in excess of what could be harvested from the patient’s own mouth.

Doctors Nail and Dombrowski have extensive experience in working with each of these soft tissue graft types, employing a variety of surgical techniques to not only treat gingival recession, but also to optimize dental implant sites in order to make the implant restoration look as natural as possible.