How Do Periodontists Fix Receding Gums?
Gum recession, or root exposure, is one of the most common dental problems. However, most people don’t even know they have it until a dental provider points it out or it becomes symptomatic. Additionally, recession typically happens slowly over time. It can be caused from a variety of situations including gingivitis, periodontitis, improper alignment of teeth, or tooth grinding just to name a few. In a recent segment of BURST tv, periodontist Dr. David Wong answered one of the most common questions he receives which is, “How do you fix receding gums?” This article will review Dr. Wong’s response.
Over half of the world population will have at least one tooth with a receded gumline or exposed root. However, just because a person has recession, that does not always mean treatment is necessary. One can have a receding gumline and still be considered healthy or at least stable.
As a periodontist, approximately half of Dr. Wong’s patient base schedule consultation appointments to discuss concern regarding tissue recession. At an initial visit, he will provide an exam which includes taking measurements of the patient’s gums, teeth, and bone, and x-rays of the teeth. The results of the exam will determine if they are in a state of health or unhealthy, stable or unstable. This first appointment is focused on assessment including risk of progression, irreversible disease, or possible affect to other teeth. The earlier receding gum tissue is detected, the better the possible outcomes.
So, why is early detection important? Unfortunately, in most cases gingival recession is associated with bone loss and bone loss is largely considered irreversible (jaw bone doesn’t grow back). The more bone a patient has around the teeth, the better the chance of successful tissue recession treatment.
There are two main treatment options for gingival recession an autograft or an allograft. An autograft is a tissue graft in which tissue is removed from the patients palate and placed along the gumline. On the other hand, an allograft is a tissue graft in which cadaver tissue or donor tissue is used. Both options have high success rates especially with early detection. The biggest difference between the two options is the patients pain/discomfort post-operatively. Commonly, patients experience discomfort in the area of the palate in which tissue is removed for an autograft. Alternatively, in an allograft procedure, there is only one surgical site. However, it is important to note that the procedures are not always interchangeable. There are certain indications in which one procedure must be used versus the other.
In conclusion, since early detection of tissue recession is a key factor in treatment success, it is important to maintain regular dental visits so that your dental provider may assess your oral health status. If you have any questions, please leave those in the comments of Dr. Wong’s YouTube segment linked below.