Rejuvenate your gums at Mountain View Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Your gums form an integral part of your mouth. They do an important job of protecting the teeth / jaws and enabling a fabulous smile. However, gum recession causes root exposure and the appearance of long teeth. With thinning gum tissue, the tooth is more susceptible to early loss and it affects the smile as the gums don’t frame the teeth properly.
Causes and symptoms of gum recession:
Gum recession can be caused by several factors so a thorough clinical evaluation is needed to identify the cause. For any recession defect, there has to be loss of bone around the tooth in order for the gums to recede.
Orthodontic treatment: A common example is when gum recession happens after orthodontic treatment. When the tooth and root is pushed beyond the natural contour of the jaw bone, the tooth is essentially pushed out of the bone. If a person has thin gum tissue, the gum recession can begin to express even from normal daily toothbrushing and dental cleanings.
Thin Gingival Biotype: Some people have thick gum tissue, some medium-thick, and some thin gum tissue. Thin gum tissue, unfortunately, leaves you susceptible to gum recession when the tissue is “over-stimulated” from hard brushing or trauma to the teeth from a bite that is not even. In addition, teeth clenching/grinding at night is also classified as “trauma” as excessive forces will cause bone loss and gum recession. Because the cause can be highly varied, close examination is needed to identify the cause before treating the recession in order to increase the success of treatment.
Some people will experience pain or bleeding gums when brushing or eating. Some may have sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweets. Some people with very little or poor quality tissue may be prone to continued gum recession and bone loss if not treated in a timely manner.
What is gum grafting?
Gum grafting is a surgical process to either replace thin tissue with thicker tissue or to cover exposed roots of teeth. Depending on the individual scenario, an examination is needed to evaluated how the recession defect will be treated. Some factors that are considered are the quality of tissue (thin vs. thick), type of tissue present (attached vs. mucosal tissue), and how much bone loss is present.
How is a gum grafting surgery carried out?
There are 2 main types of gum grafting surgery: Root Coverage Graft & Free Gingival Graft.
A Free Gingival Graft is performed when a patient doesn’t have any firm attached (keratinized) tissue over the root. The main goal of this procedure is not to covered expose roots, but rather create a zone of thick attached tissue to protect the teeth from continued recession. This is done by taking some tissue from the palate (roof of the mouth) where there is an abundance of thick tissue and literally transferring it over to the area being treated.
A Root Coverage Graft is performed when a patient has root exposure and wants to cover them to restore the normal draping of the gums around the teeth. After mobilizing the receded gums, gum tissue is place over the teeth and the mobilized gums are lifted to cover the graft. When this is done, the gum tissue now becomes thicker and corrects the defect. The gum tissue is either taken from the roof of the mouth or human donor tissue is commonly purchased (Acellular Dermal Matrix - ADM).
Call Mountain View Family & Cosmetic Dentistry at (650) 988-9458 or schedule an online appointment to know more about gum grafting.