One of the concerns we sometimes hear at Peninsula Periodontal Associates is, “My gums just don’t look the same they once did. What is causing this?”
Our gums recede for a number of reasons. These include aggressive tooth brushing or the presence of periodontal disease, a bacteria-induced, inflammatory chronic condition that attacks gum tissue and the bone supporting the teeth. While you may not be able to control what is causing or has caused the recession, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis and our team at Peninsula Periodontal Associates can help detect the factors contributing to the problem.
One of the treatments we proudly offer to fight receding gums is gum grafting, which involves removing healthy tissue from other locations in your mouth (usually the roof of your mouth) and placing it next to the affected tooth or teeth. Gum grafting helps cover the exposed roots to protect them from decay, and reduces tooth sensitivity, improving the aesthetics of your smile along the way.
How do I know if I have gum recession?
Gum recession doesn’t just appear overnight. Rather, it is a very slow, gradual process that is brought on by advanced gum disease such as periodontitis. Symptoms of gum recession include:
- Bleeding gums whenever your brush or floss
- Tender gums
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Exposed teeth roots
- Increased space (gaps) between teeth
- Longer tooth line
- Sensitivity to hot or cold, or even to sweet, spicy, or sour foods
Gum Tissue Grafting
When you visit Peninsula Periodontal Associates for your procedure, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis will apply a local anesthetic to numb the area involved. Depending on your specific condition, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis will perform one of three different types of gum tissue grafts:
- Connective tissue graft: The most common procedure for covering exposed roots, connective tissue grafting involves cutting a flap of skin in other areas of your mouth (usually from the roof of your mouth) and stitching the tissue next to the affected tooth or teeth.
- Free gingival graft: Similar to a connective tissue graft, a free gingival graft is an excellent method of treatment in cases where the goal is to increase the amount of gum tissue. Free gingival drafting also involves the use of tissue from the roof of the mouth. But rather than making a flap and removing tissue, a small amount of tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth and then attached to the gum area being treated.
- Pedicle graft: In this procedure, instead of taking tissue from the palate, it is grafted from gum around or near the affected tooth. The flap is only partially cut away and the gum is then pulled over or down to cover the exposed root, then sewn into place.
The procedure you undergo will depend entirely on your condition. Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis will be happy to meet with you and discuss which method will work best for your unique situation. If you think you are suffering from gum recession, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis will be happy to discuss and figure out which procedure can help get your smile back. To learn more about gum grafting, or to schedule your appointment at our San Mateo, CA office, please give us a call today!