If you have started to notice that your teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold, or if you actually seem to have a longer smile than you used to, it could be that receding gums have left more of your tooth and root area exposed. This condition is not uncommon. While periodontal disease is often the cause of receding gums, injury, aging, genetics, even overly energetic brushing—all can lead to gum recession.
This is a gradual process, but over time gum recession can lead to dissatisfaction with your appearance, discomfort and sensitivity, and even tooth loss. Luckily, there are several options available to restore the appearance and health of your gums. One of the most effective is tissue grafting.
In this procedure, a thin section of tissue is used to replace the gum tissue that has receded. This new tissue will serve to restore a healthy gumline and protect tooth structure and placement. The method we recommend will be based on doing what is best for the condition of your gums.
- Pedicle Grafts
If you have a lot of gum tissue near the site to be repaired, a flap can be cut in the gum tissue close to the tooth being treated. That piece will be drawn over the root area and sutured into place.
- Connective Tissue Grafts
When there is not enough gum tissue near the tooth needing treatment, tissue from beneath the skin on the roof of your mouth can be used. Your doctor will create a flap, remove some connective tissue, and reattach the flap. The connective tissue will be sutured to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. This is the most common procedure used for grafting.
- Free Gingival Grafts
If your original gum tissue is very thin, more tissue might be needed for a graft. In this case, tissue will be removed from the roof of the mouth and sutured in place on your gum.
- Other Options
Other options such as donor grafts and specially treated collagen grafts may be considered if, for some reason, it wouldn’t be practical to use your own tissue.
Mild cases of gum recession might be helped without surgery, but, if a gum graft is necessary, call Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis at our San Mateo, CA office. We will be happy to discuss the procedure and address any concerns you might have. Don’t be put off by the prospect of oral surgery. We will make this procedure as comfortable as possible using minimally invasive techniques. We will provide a prescription for pain medication, if needed, and tips for taking care of yourself gently afterward. Most of all, we can offer the best medical and cosmetic options for your individual smile if gum recession treatment is recommended. Our goal is the same as yours: to improve both the appearance and the health of your smile.