Gum recession or receding gum line, refers to progressive loss of gum tissue.This can eventually result in tooth root exposure, cavities and sensitivity besides an unaesthetic smile, if left untreated.
Gum recession, like other gum diseases can be difficult to self-diagnose in its earlier stages because the changes often occur asymptomatically and gradually. However, once it advances a patient can frequently identify it. Specially, if the recession is in the front teeth wherein patients experience having a “toothy smile” or longer looking teeth. Besides “longer” looking teeth, the following symptoms maybe indicative of gum recession. Sensitive teeth….when the gums recede enough to expose the cementum protecting the tooth root, the patients experience sensitivity while having hot or cold. Halitosis (bad breath), inflammation, bleeding gums and visible roots are other common symptoms associated with gum recession!!
Receding gums can be caused by a number of factors including brushing too hard, poor oral hygiene, smoking, chewing tobacco, mouth injuries or trauma, mal aligned or crooked teeth and gum disease (inflammation and infection of the gums, bones and tissues that anchor teeth to the jaws).
Depending on the severity of the gum recession and the underlying cause, the treatment could be non-surgical or surgical. For some, improving home oral care alone maybe enough to restore gums to their previous healthy condition!!
If overly aggressive brushing techniques are eroding the gums, a softer toothbrush and a gentler brushing technique should be used. Toothbrushes with pressure sensitive handles can be used. For those with poor oral hygiene ,prophylaxis (professional dental cleaning) maybe recommended. Those experiencing sensitivity may need to use desensitizing toothpaste. For more severe gum recession, soft tissue graft (also called gum graft) surgery is recommended to restore the receding gumlines and covering sensitive roots.
GUM GRAFT SURGERY or SOFT TISSUE GRAFTS
are advised to replace or restore the lost or receded gum tissue.
When roots of the teeth become exposed because of gum recession, spaces are created between the teeth. These spaces become areas for food particle lodgment and thereby help the harmful bacteria to thrive. This makes the teeth very prone to decay. Besides making them sensitive to hot or cold the aesthetic appearance of the smile is also altered. So, soft tissue graft often gets necessary to combat gum recession. Its main aim is to cover the exposed root or thicken the existing gum tissue in order to stop further tissue loss.
There are different types of soft tissue grafts…It could be the PEDICLE GRAFT, involving sharing of the soft tissue between the affected site and the adjacent healthy gum area, or the FREE GINGIVAL GRAFT or the FREE CONNECTIVE TISSUE GRAFT where the soft tissue or the connective tissue is taken from the palate and harboured at the site. Soft tissue grafting is an extremely versatile procedure.
Dr Amit Gulati, Periodontist at Gums N Smiles, has been doing this over the years …making the outcome of the surgery very predictable and restoring the health of your gums to the fullest!!