Soft Tissue Grafting

At New Image Dentistry in Vancouver WA our goal is to stabilize your oral health and prevent dental disease or decay before it starts. Soft tissue grafting is an extremely versatile procedure that has many uses. Recent developments in dental technology have made soft tissue grafting more predictable and less intrusive. Some of the main benefits associated with soft tissue grafting treatment include:

  • Increased comfort – Soft tissue grafts cover exposed root to decrease sensitivity and prevent pain and discomfort while eating hot or cold foods.
  • Improved aesthetics – Soft tissue grafting used as a cosmetic procedure realigns the gums for a more symmetrical smile.
  • Improved gum health – When used in combination with deep cleaning procedures, soft tissue grafting can halt tissue and bone loss to protect exposed roots from decay and further complications.

The main goal of soft tissue grafting is to either cover the exposed root or to thicken the existing gum tissue in order to prevent decay and halt further tissue loss.


  • Free gingival graft – Commonly used for thickening existing tissue, a strip of tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and stitched to the grafting site to promote natural growth.
  • Connective tissue graft – For larger areas or root exposure, subepithelial connective tissue is removed from a small flap in the mouth and sutured to the grafting site.
  • Pedicle graft – A flap of tissue is partially cut away and moved sideways to cover the root. The tissue moved to the adjacent area includes blood vessels left in place.

Although there are several different types, one procedure completely eliminates the need for soft tissue grafts. Dr. Perkins is one of only a few dentists in the area who is certified to perform Pinhole Gum Surgery – a procedure with benefits such as no bleeding and permanent gum repair.


Generally, the grafting procedure itself starts with local anesthetic applied to the area, but this depends on the size of the areas receiving grafts. First, the dentist makes a small incision at the recipient site to create a small pocket. Next, he/she will make a split-thickness incision to place the donor tissue in between the two sections of this area. The donor tissue strip is generally larger than the incision, so some excess will be apparent.

Before suturing, the dentist applies platelet-rich growth factors and tissue-stimulating proteins for natural tissue growth and good healing. Finally, the dentist sutures the wound to prevent shifting and places surgical material to protect the sensitive area. Gum uniformity and substantial healing will take place in the first six weeks after the procedure.

If you have a question about soft tissue grafting or any of our cosmetic dentistry procedures, give our Vancouver, WA office a call or contact us today!