Gum grafting for gum recession
Incisive BiteSunday, March 21, 2021
by Dr Sharon Robinson
IF you notice a few of your teeth have started to look longer or you frequently experience sensitivity to hot and cold, your gums could be receding and a portion of your tooth's root could be exposed.
Gum recession occurs gradually, and it may sneak up on you. Gum grafting treatment for receding gums can help prevent any further loss of gum tissue.
Causes of gum recession
Periodontal (gum) disease is a common cause of gum recession. Inadequate oral hygiene, genetic make-up, hormone changes, diabetes, and other illnesses can all increase your risk of initial infection. However, smokers are four times more likely to develop gum disease compared to non-smokers. Most kinds of tobacco products can increase your risk in this way.
Other reasons for gum recession include an aggressive or improper brushing technique, the extreme force put on your teeth from grinding or clenching, and occasionally the unusual forces brought on by misaligned teeth. Also, keep in mind that tongue and lip piercings can rub and irritate the gums, wearing the gum tissue away.
Treatment for receding gums
When receding gums are caused by heavy tartar build-up and gum disease, a professional cleaning is suggested as a first step in stopping the recession. Also called scaling and root planing, this procedure removes bacterial plaque and tartar build-up from your teeth and root surfaces, helping your gums heal and preventing any further recession.
If your recession is more extensive, however, consider gum graft surgery, which not only repairs the wounded area but also helps to prevent additional infection.
Types of gum grafts
• Connective-tissue grafts are the most common grafting procedure used to treat one or more areas of recession. The tissue is taken from a flap of tissue from the roof of your mouth and then stitched over the area of exposed root.
• Free gingival grafts are similar to connective tissue grafts, although the tissue is taken from the palate directly.
• Pedicle grafts use the tissue adjacent to the tooth in need of repair.
Donated medically, processed human tissue can also be used for the grafting procedure.
Benefits of gum grafts
In addition to stopping the process of gum recession and bone loss, gum grafts can reduce tooth sensitivity (especially to hot and cold foods) and protect the roots of your teeth from root decay. Gum grafts also result in a more even gumline, giving you the benefit of smiling and speaking without being self-conscious regarding the appearance of your teeth.
Good oral care for prevention
Keeping your teeth clean and gums healthy is key in preventing gum recession. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and using the correct tooth-brushing technique. And don't forget: Flossing daily cleans away bacteria and plaque that hide between your teeth.
Your dentist or dental hygienist may be the first to notice an area of gum recession while examining your teeth, and a professional cleaning can remove the tartar that your toothbrush can't. So, be diligent about scheduling your regular examination and cleaning appointments.
If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about a mouth guard to help break the habit and discuss tooth-straightening options for any misaligned teeth. Ultimately, keeping watch for the early signs of gum disease — such as red, swollen gums that bleed easily or persistent bad breath — will help you catch the infection before it requires professional care.
Preventing gum recession is much easier and less costly than the treatment for receding gums. So, if you have been lacking a home care routine or recent dental appointment, ramp it up! And call your dentist at the first sign of periodontal trouble.
Dr Sharon Robinson, DDS has offices at Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 876-630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.
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