Alternative to Gum Grafting
Treating gum recession is often necessary to restore the health of your gum tissue and make sure your teeth remain healthy and that your job bone does not experience any deterioration. Sensitivity to temperatures is one symptom of receding gums that can be very uncomfortable and cause you to avoid foods and beverages that you love.
Gum recession can be caused by a number of things such as poor oral hygiene, smoking, periodontal disease, medical issues, and even some medications. Genetics and aggressive brushing habits can even play a role in gum issues. When tissue recedes, it exposes the root surface and can cause the patient to experience temperature sensitivity, loss of jaw bone structure, and loss of teeth. Fortunately, there are a number of options for treating gum recession which we will review here.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a great way to treat periodontal disease and mild gum recession. This is simply a deep cleaning performed by your dental hygienist under local anesthesia. It is necessary for you to be anesthetized as the cleaning reaches deep below the gum line which can be very sensitive and painful. it is not uncommon for this treatment to be split into two visits, one side being completed at a time. This is so the patient’s entire mouth is not numb once they leave the office.
During your scaling and root planing, your dental hygienist will use manual tools to clean out the plaque and bacteria that have accumulated in the pockets of your gum tissue which are located between the gums and the tooth surface. This allows the gums to heal closer to the tooth surface, covering any previously exposed roots. Scaling and root planing can be used as a first step for gum recession treatment.
Your dentist can probably perform gum contouring for you but they may also refer you to a periodontist. for gum contouring, a soft tissue laser or even a scalpel is used to reshape the gumline. This allows the gum tissue to heal over the tooth in a better position to keep the gum pockets clear of plaque and bacteria. This is also the same process that is used to treat a gummy smile. Regardless of the tool that is used, a local anesthetic will be applied before your procedure.
Gum Graft Surgery
For a gum graft, your doctor can use a piece of tissue harvested from the roof of your mouth or a piece of tissue that was previously harvested from a cadaver donor and frozen. This healthy tissue is placed over the affected area and sutured in place. A gum graft can be used to restore the health of one or multiple teeth.
While highly effective for extreme recession cases, a gum graft can be painful during recovery but your doctor will make sure that you have the best chance of success with postoperative instructions addressing diet and oral hygiene. Usually, over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient to control gum graft surgery pain.
Finally, we have gum regeneration. Gum regeneration is used for patients who have severe gum recession that has caused some bone loss. For gum regeneration, your doctor will cut back a section of gum tissue in the affected area and place a bone graft. Once the bone graft has fully integrated, your doctor will be able to perform the final gum graft.
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