When recession of the gingiva occurs, not only does the body lose a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma, but supporting bone loss also occurs. When gum recession is a problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.
When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession is severe enough, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.
In addition, gum recession can result in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth. When significant, gum recession can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root decay and notching of the root.
The treatment of recession involves adding tissue over the exposed root to cover the root and provide enough tissue thickness to prevent future recession. The type of tissue used depends on the individual situation, and some examples are:
A thin strip of the patient’s own tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and sutured into place over the exposed root.
Medically processed, donated human tissue, such as Alloderm or Perioderm, can be placed over the exposed root and do not require taking tissue from the roof of the mouth.
If an adjacent tooth has a good amount of gum tissue, some of this tissue can be gently moved to cover the area of recession. This technique does not lead to any recession or problems on the tooth from which the tissue is moved.
Benefits of Gum Grafting:
A gum graft can prevent further recession and bone loss, improve esthetics of your smile, decrease tooth sensitivity, and help prevent cavities forming on roots.
If you have areas of recession that require treatment, you may discuss with Dr. Suttle and Dr. Pierce which technique will be best for you. With any of the above techniques the graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable, healthy band of thick, attached gum tissue around the tooth.