Dee Nishimine, D.D.S., Inc.
Sophia Y. Tseng, D.M.D.
Periodontics & Dental Implants
Call: (559)229-6557

Soft Tissue Grafting

Soft tissue grafting is often necessary to combat gum recession.  Periodontal disease, trauma, aging, over brushing, and poor tooth positioning are the leading causes of gum recession which can lead to tooth-root exposure in severe cases.  You may have too little gum tissue, "long in the tooth" or too much gum tissue, "gummy smile" and these can be corrected by Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine, & Sophia Tseng.

Periodontist such as Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine, & Sophia Tseng are considered "plastic surgeons" of the oral cavity.  With proper grafting they can enhance your smile.

When the roots of the teeth become exposed, eating hot and cold foods can be uncomfortable, decay is more prevalent and the aesthetic appearance of the smile is altered.  The main goal of soft tissue grafting is to either cover the exposed root or to thicken the existing gum tissue in order to halt further tissue loss.

The two different types of common soft tissue grafts include:

  • Connective tissue graft – For larger areas or root exposure, subepithelial tissue is needed to remedy the problem.  This subepithelial connective tissue is removed from a small flap in the mouth and sutured to the grafting site.  This is the most common treatment for root exposure.



                            Before 2004                                                                    After 2009

    If you appear to be "long in the tooth" this can easily be treated with Connective Tissue Grafting and we can get root coverage in 98% of the case to create a BEAUTIFUL SMILE!!!

  • "My soft tissue grafting by Drs. Nishimine and Tseng was fabulous and very easy and I am very pleased." WL 2009. 

      "My tooth is very sensitive and looks long and they told me it has decay."

    "My graft is still stable 2 years down the road and it is not sensitive to cold or hot."

     I'm long in the tooth, receding gums, receding gum specialist, Dr. Nishimine & Tseng  Dr. Nishimine Periodontal Plastic Surgery

     "My soft tissue graft has been successful for  5 years now and it looks and feels great."


    Beautiful Gums Dr. Nishimine & Tseng Periodontal Plastic Surgery Drs. Nishimine & Tseng

  • Free gingival graft – A strip of tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and stitched to the grafting site in order to promote natural growth.  This type of graft is most commonly used for thickening existing tissue.  This will never be done in the aesthetic zone or smile zone.  This a very durable and long lasting graft that is done in the back areas of your mouth.  
  • Reasons for soft tissue grafting

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.  Here are some of the main benefits associated with soft tissue grafting treatment:

  • Increased comfort – Root exposure can cause substantial pain and discomfort.  Eating hot, cold or even warm foods can cause severe discomfort. Soft tissue grafts cover the exposed root, decreases sensitivity and restore good health to the gum area.

  • Improved aesthetics – Gum recession due to periodontal disease can cause the smile to look “toothy” or the teeth to appear uneven in size.  Soft tissue grafting can be used as a cosmetic procedure to re-augment the gums, and make the smile appear more symmetrical.

  • Improved gum health – Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that can destroy soft tissue very rapidly.  When used in combination with deep cleaning procedures, soft tissue grafting can halt tissue and bone loss, and protect exposed roots from further complications.

    "Gummy Smile"

If you have a "gummy smile" or you teeth appear to look very small this can be enhanced with Aesthetic Crown Lengthening.  Some patients have excessive gum tissues caused by: heredity, seizure medications, mouth breathing, and other medical syndromes can easily be treated and we can enhance the smile.   You can have normal looking teeth and a Beautiful Smile!!

"My teeth are too short and I want a pretty smile."

"I have normal looking teeth and my smile is much prettier."


"Look at my smile NOW!  My mouth looks so much better and it was very   easy and I am very happy I had it done. It was easy and very comfortable." 


What does soft tissue grafting treatment involve?

Initially, SRP's and OHI  will be performed both above and below the gum line to clear the teeth and roots of calculus (tartar).  The grafting procedure itself will generally be performed under local anesthetic, but this will depend on the size of the areas receiving grafts.  A small incision will be made at the recipient site in order to create a small pocket.  A split thickness incision is made in this pocket and the donor tissue is placed between the two sections of this area.  The donor tissue strip is generally larger than the incision, so some excess will be apparent.

Platelet rich growth factors which stimulate natural tissue growth and promote good healing may be applied to the site before suturing.  In addition, tissue-stimulating proteins may be added to encourage quicker tissue growth.  Finally, the wound site will be sutured to prevent shifting, and surgical material will be placed to protect the sensitive area.  Gum uniformity and substantial healing will take place in the first six weeks after the procedure.

This is a very successful and long lasting procedure.

If you have any questions about soft tissue grafting, please ask our Periodontal Team.