Gum recession, gingival recession, or receding gums is a common dental issue that occurs naturally with age, but the process can be worsened by periodontal disease or trauma. If caught early, minor recession can be treated at home with prescribed oral hygiene practices. If not, don’t worry and call Dentalville Panorama City to schedule an appointment!
Unfortunately, gum recession happens so gradually that it often becomes severe before treatment. When the gingiva recedes enough to reveal the root or loosen the tooth, gum grafting needed, as several problems then present themselves:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold beverages or foods
- A less attractive appearance as teeth appear longer and less healthy
- Reduced protection against bacteria, leading to decay and infection
- Damage to the tooth’s supporting bone, further impacting dental health
At this point, gum grafting can resolve the issue safely and quickly. This is an outpatient procedure with manageable aftercare, that has proved effective in protecting the patient’s dental health, improving the appearance of the teeth, and preventing further deterioration.
Depending on the severity of the recession, and the patient's needs, our periodontist may perform one of several types of gum graft.
- Pedicle grafts. Tissue is grafted from the patient’s own gum around the tooth needing repair. A pedicle, or small flap of tissue, is partially cut away so that one edge remains attached. This flap is then pulled down to cover the exposed root, and sewn into place.
- Donated tissue. If sufficient tissue cannot be taken from the patient’s mouth, gum tissue can be sourced from tissue banks, just as in burn reconstruction or common cosmetic surgeries.
- Connective-tissue grafts. A flap is cut in the patient’s palate, after which subepithelial connective tissue is removed from under the skin and then grafted to the gum surrounding the exposed root.
- Free gingival grafts. Like the connective-tissue graft, a free gingival graft takes tissue from the roof of the patient’s mouth. A small amount of tissue is removed directly from the palate and then attached to the gum area being treated.
- PRF grafts. In this newer technique, the patient’s blood is drawn and centrifuged to create a Platelet-Rich-Fibrin clot, that can then be inserted into an incision along the tooth root where needed, providing extra tissue to the gum without removing tissue elsewhere in the mouth.
In most cases, discomfort passes in a few days and a complete recovery is achieved within weeks, resulting in a healthier mouth and a cosmetically improved appearance. Many insurance plans cover the procedure, especially when medically necessary.
While gum grafting is often performed as an elective cosmetic surgery to improve the aesthetics of a patient’s smile, the medical benefits are considerable. The soft root tissue is no longer exposed to dental caries, bacteria no longer has an entry via pockets along the receding gum line, and the tooth sits more securely in its socket, all of which result in a healthier mouth.