Most people assume that gum recession is normal that comes with age, but it’s not. Gum recession is a serious problem and you should be alarmed if and when you notice your gums receding.
What is gum recession?
Gum recession is a condition in which the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth is lost, exposing the surface of the root. It’s not just a matter of being unsightly – it can also get progressively worse if left untreated because it can lead to tooth loss. This condition can result from gingivitis (gum inflammation) or periodontitis, which is a more advanced stage of gum inflammation. Obviously, this isn’t a good thing and it’s anything but normal. In fact, it can be prevented and fixed with periodontal plastic surgery.
What causes gum recession?
Gum or gingival tissue is the tissue that is firmly attached to the “necks” of the teeth along with the bone for support. This forms a barrier that is called the “attached gingiva.” It is typically resistant to the abrasiveness of certain foods when you’re chewing or biting.
The gum tissue is divided into two basic biotypes: thick and thin. Because of their differences, each biotype will also respond differently to physical trauma or inflammation.
Thin gum tissue biotypes are more prone to recession than thick ones from any of the following causes:
- Inadequate oral hygiene/daily removal of plaque
- Brushing or flossing too hard
- Mal-positioned teeth/predisposition to gum recession
- Muscle attachments pulling at the gum line
- Ill-fitting removable dentures or orthodontic appliances like braces and tongue bolts
Symptoms of Gum Recession
- Exposed root surfaces
- Teeth that are overly sensitive to cold and hot food/beverages
- Sensitivity to pressure
- Decaying roots
- Progressive recession (not steady and isolated)
Periodontal Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery is not just for cosmetic and aesthetic purposes. It can also be used for the restoration of form and function, and is, in fact, used to correct gum recession. Periodontal plastic surgery is the answer to progressively receding gums that are exposing too much of the root, and is therefore causing serious problems. It consists of reconstructive surgery and microsurgery, and is typically performed by a professional periodontist. You can also go to a general dentist, as long as they have taken appropriate training for plastic surgical techniques.
The most common technique used for periodontal plastic surgery is gum tissue grafting. In this procedure, your surgeon will take a thin layer of gum from one area, usually from the roof of the mouth, to transfer to the necks of your teeth where it will attach and eventually grow.
To learn more about periodontal plastic surgery, contact your periodontist today.