Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson

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Regenerative tissue matrix

This week I have periodontal surgery, to treat an attached tissue recession I have. In other words, the gums around my teeth are receeding, and if I don't do anything about them, they'll eventually expose so much of my teeth that I'll lose my teeth. A future I'd like to avoid.

So, surgery. The plan is to graft donor tissue around the base of my gums, to provide support beneath the exposed teeth. To borrow an analogy my periodontist likes to use: think of a cliff with a line of trees on it. If the cliff erodes too much, the trees fall off. Even if you stop the cause of erosion, it's really hard for earth to just rematerialize there. But, if you put some scaffolding up, as a framework for earth to collect, then the cliff can rebuild itself. Thus goes the theory of the surgery. The "regenerative tissue matrix" is just a scaffolding, on which my own tissue is supposed to regrow and rebuild. The long term prognosis isn't really to cover the exposed teeth, it's just to provide support and stop the recession.

What's novel about the plan is that I'm using AlloDerm, ie, donor tissue. Someone else's skin tissue that's been separated (to removed the epidermis from the dermis), treated (to remove the cells themselves leaving just the protein matrix), and freeze dried. Some people have gotten all wigged about this idea -- "you're putting dead person's skin in your mouth?" -- but I'm surprisingly nonchalant about it. Probably because I know the alternative: cutting into the roof of my mouth for all the graft tissue. And, I need a lot of it. I'm far more loathe to experience the world's worst pizza burn for the next several weeks, than to leap with both feet into the donor tissue world.

So goes my plan for the week. I'll be on soft foods for a while afterward, and I apparently shouldn't brush or floss the area for a week or two afterward. Don't worry, I have those little Listerine strips. 8) I think I'll buy myself a toy this week as a treat for going through this pain.
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