Gum Treatment options and risks – Seattle

Gum Recession: Causes, Treatment Options and Risks

Gum recession is a common oral health condition in which the gum tissue around the teeth pulls back and exposes the roots of the teeth. This can cause sensitivity, pain and increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

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Causes of Gum Recession:

  • Brushing too hard or with a toothbrush that is too stiff.
  • Genetics
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Hormonal changes
  • Tobacco use
  • Ill-fitting dentures or bridges
  • A history of expansive orthodontic therapy
  • Misaligned teeth

Treatment Options: The treatment options for gum recession vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some of the common treatment options include:

  • Scaling and Root Planing: A deep cleaning procedure to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and roots
  • Soft Tissue Grafting: A surgical procedure to replace lost gum tissue. There are several types of soft tissue grafts including:
    1. Gingival Grafts: A procedure in which a small piece of tissue is taken from the surface of the palate and used to cover exposed roots.
    2. Sub-epithelial Connective Tissue Grafts: A procedure in which a thin layer of tissue is taken from under the palate and used to cover exposed roots.
    3. Allografts: A procedure in which donated tissue (PerioDerm or Alloderm) is used to cover exposed roots

Risks and Benefits of Autogenously Derived Donor Tissue vs Allograft: Autogenously derived donor tissue is tissue that is taken from the patient’s own mouth, typically from the palate. The benefits of using autogenously derived donor tissue include:

  • Lower risk of rejection or disease transmission
  • Improved healing and stability of the graft
  • More predictable long-term results

Allografts are donated tissue from a tissue bank that is processed and sterilized for use in gum tissue grafting. The benefits of using allografts include:

  • No donor site discomfort or complications
  • Reduced surgical time and less invasive procedure.
  • Less postoperative pain and swelling.

It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of both options with your dental professional to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Early treatment is important to prevent further damage and protect your oral health. If you are experiencing symptoms of gum recession, please schedule an appointment with of our periodontists at pacific Northwest periodontics to discuss your treatment options.

Remember, taking care of your oral health is important for your overall well-being. Don’t delay care, act now and protect your smile!

Gum Recession FAQs

What are the consequences of gum recession?

Gum recession can cause tooth sensitivity and an increased risk of tooth decay. In fact, patients may find it increasingly difficult to floss and brush their teeth, which can lead to a decrease in overall dental health. If left untreated, receding gums can result in bone loss, loose teeth, and tooth loss.

Can receding gums grow back?

Once the gumline has started to recede, it is gone for good. Although it cannot be reversed, patients can often take measures to prevent gum recession from occurring in the first place.

Are root planing and scaling treatments enough to correct gum recession?

The specific gum recession treatment you receive depends on the severity of the condition as well as its cause. While root planing and scaling can be effective, some patients may require more extensive treatment, such as gum grafting, to restore their oral health.

Is gum recession preventable?

While not all causes of gum recession can be prevented, having good oral hygiene, using a soft toothbrush, using gentle brushing techniques, and attending regularly scheduled dental cleanings can help reduce the risk of gum recession.

Am I at risk of developing receding gums?

Gum recession can impact individuals of varying backgrounds, and several factors can contribute to its development, including:

Genetics: Genetic predisposition can also play a role in an individual’s susceptibility to gum recession.

Periodontal disease: Individuals with periodontal disease are at increased risk of experiencing gum recession. This condition can compromise the integrity of gum tissue and bone that support the teeth.

Tobacco use: Tobacco has wide-ranging negative impacts on the entire body. As such, harmful chemicals present in this substance can contribute to gum tissue damage, leading to recession over time.

Lip or tongue piercing: Oral piercings, particularly those located in the lip or tongue, may contribute to gum recession due to continuous friction between the jewelry and the gum tissue.

Aggressive tooth brushing: Brushing the teeth too vigorously or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can damage the gums over time. Use the correct brushing techniques to get your teeth clean without irritating the gums.

Orthodontic treatments: Previous orthodontic treatment, such as braces, can be a contributing factor to gum recession.

What are the benefits of soft tissue grafting for receding gums?

This type of treatment addresses gum recession by covering the exposed root surfaces and restoring the gum line. As a result, patients can experience reduced tooth sensitivity, protect the roots of the teeth from decay, and improve the overall appearance of the smile.

What is the Allen Tunnel Technique?

The Allen Tunnel Technique is a surgical procedure used to treat gum recession. It involves creating a tunnel in the gum tissue before inserting the grafting material into the tunnel.

After soft tissue grafting, what can I expect during the recovery period?

Following tissue grafting treatment, patients can expect some swelling and discomfort, which can typically be alleviated with pain medication. It is important to adhere to post-operative care instructions provided by your PNW specialist, which may include dietary restrictions, oral hygiene guidelines, and follow-up appointments. Most patients can expect a smooth recovery process and a significant improvement in their gum recession.

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