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Why A Hard/Soft Tissue Graft?

When it comes to the health and beauty of smiles, some patients may be candidates for tissue grafting procedures. This form of treatment is used to replace the hard or soft tissues of the mouth that have been damaged or similar. There are both medical and cosmetic motivations for a patient to receive a tissue grafting procedure. Our goal is to educate patients on the difference between hard and soft tissue grafts, as well as the reasons they may become necessary. If you find yourself in a position where you require a tissue graft, we will communicate with you each step of the way to ensure your comfort throughout the process.

Soft Tissue Graft

Soft tissue grafts are both medical and cosmetic procedures. Medically speaking, a soft tissue graft is very effective method to repair damage done by gum recession. Gum recession can be caused a variety of ways, but most often it is the result of inadequate dental hygiene practice. Gum recession is a gradual process, making it difficult for the patient to notice; however, when the roots of your teeth become more exposed, they become sensitive to extreme temperatures. The increased exposure also increases your likelihood of disease or infection. Left untreated, recession can lead to loose teeth or even permanent tooth loss. From a cosmetic point of view, some individuals desire a more even or full gum line to enhance the aesthetics of their smile.

In either case, the tissue grafting procedures remain consistent. The doctor will take soft tissue from elsewhere in the mouth, most commonly the palate, and then stitch it to the recipient site. There are several methods by which this can be achieved, and you will be able to talk with us about which is most suitable for your needs. When it comes to healing, your ability to drive after the procedure will depend on whether or not sedatives are administered. You will receive special instructions for your post-operative dental care, and must adhere to a specific diet in order to promote healing. The discomfort you feel post-operatively will depend on how much tissue was removed and how it was done. Fortunately, the gums heal relatively quickly and pain medications keep everything manageable.

Hard Tissue Graft

A hard tissue graft is commonly known as a bone graft. Although it can sound intimidating, a bone graft can offer you very beautiful and natural results if your smile has been damaged. Bone grafts are often recommended for those who have lost teeth and are seeking to restore their smile back to full form and function with dental implants. When a tooth is lost, it catalyzes a process of bone recession in the vacant space created. The longer a tooth replacement is not implemented, the more severe the recession. When a restorative dental implant is to be placed, it is vital that there is enough supporting bone for the artificial root. If there is not, that is when we first graft additional bone into the area.

The amount of bone grafted depends on the preexisting condition of the area; if the tooth is only recently lost, it may only be a minor amount. If it’s been allowed to deteriorate, it may require more attention. As with soft tissue grafting, the doctor will provide instructions to promote healthy healing after your procedure. With proper care and a watchful eye, you will be healed up in no time, and have an absolutely beautiful smile to show for it!

Dr. Thomas Hoover, Dr. Neil Covin, and Dr. Satya Molleti
3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-920

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Dr. Hoover received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the Metropolitan State University of Denver in 1998. He received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Minnesota in 2002. Upon graduation he served it the United States Navy as a dental officer. His time in the military included an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency and two years as the solo dental officer on board USS Oak Hill (LSD-51). In 2005, he returned to the University of Minnesota to complete a three year Advanced Education in Periodontology. He graduated with honors in 2008 and earned a Certificate in Periodontology. Dr. Hoover is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. Voted a Top Dentist for 2007 in the Minneapolis, St. Paul Magazine, Dr. Covin has enjoyed practicing periodontology in St. Louis Park since 1973. He began placing dental implants in 1986, one of the first in the area. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Dental School, Dr. Covin went on to receive his advanced degree and masters in periodontology at the University of Iowa in 1971. Dr. Covin highly values continuing education and has advanced his dental knowledge with specialized courses in dental implant placement, bone grafting procedures, cosmetic periodontal surgery and piezosurgery. He is the Director of the West Suburban Study Club, a respected group of dental professionals that meet to discuss current treatment and technology. He is also a member of the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Periodontology and the Minnesota Dental Association. Dr. Molleti received her Certificate of Periodontics and Masters Degree in Dentistry from the University of Minnesota in 2002. She is an Adjunct Faculty at the Advance Education Program in Graduate Periodontology, University of Minnesota. She is a board certified periodontist from the American Board of Periodontology. She has been practicing periodontics and implant dentistry in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area for the past eleven years. Dr. Molleti is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and is an active member in the organization and the American Academy of Periodontology.

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