Soft Tissue Grafting

A healthy tooth is surrounded by gum tissue, but sometimes gum tissue can breakdown in a process called recession, resulting in an exposure of the root surface.

Gums can recede away from the teeth for a number of reasons, including: improper brushing, using a brush with hard bristles, trauma, genetics, orthodontics, or a strong frenum (muscle) pull.  When the attached tissue is very thin, the area becomes even more susceptible to breakdown, ultimately leading to a destabilization of the tooth.

Some types of gum recession require treatment, others can be monitored for further changes.

What’s important is making sure the bone and gum support around the teeth is engineered to resist further deterioration and further damage.  There are several periodontal plastic surgery techniques that can be used to repair gum recession.  Every patient receives their individualized treatment plan depending on their unique dental situation.

Nearly everyone who has recession of the gums with minimally attached tissue and is in general good health is a candidate for gum grafting.  The first step in investigating if you are a good candidate involves an examination and consultation with Dr. Fritz or Dr. Schuldt.

On the day of your procedure, the graft tissue is harvested from the palate and then overlaid on the exposure root surface and held in place to heal with sutures.

It is imperative to follow all of Dr. Fritz and Dr. Schuldt’s post-operative instructions to ensure the successful healing and integration of your graft.  Our team are experts in how to care for your graft and will give you all of the instruction and guidelines that you need to provide the best care at home.


It hurts less than you think.  Trust us, we did the research!

We get asked this question so often, that we performed a study to determine just how painful our patients report a soft tissue grafting procedure is.  When we asked them to tell us how much pain they experienced from ‘No Pain at All’ to ‘Worst Pain Imaginable’ on a 10-point scale, patients reported the procedure as a 3/10.

Most report that it feels somewhat like a burn from biting into pizza before it’s cooled down and the feeling is gone in about 5 days.

Check out the study here!

You should be fully healed by about 2 weeks after your gum grafting procedure.

Two weeks following your procedure, we will have you return to our office to remove the sutures and to assess the healing of your tissues.  At this appointment, patients generally report little to no awareness of the area.  

We then ask to see you back again 4 weeks later to ensure that the area is completely healed and give our patients the green light to return to their normal brushing, eating, and for our wind instrument players – music-making behaviours!

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