Receding Gums: Will I need a gum graft?

Gingival recession, also known as receding gums, is a common dental condition in which the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth. In a healthy mouth, the gum tissue fits snuggly around the neck of the teeth, covering and protecting the root structure. The gum tissue also covers the bone that supports the teeth.

When the gums recede, the underlying bone is also lost and the root structure is left unprotected. The root surface, softer and more porous than the enamel, becomes vulnerable to a number of troublesome issues. Tooth sensitivity, decay, and stain are commonly reported symptoms. In fact, the root structure is so delicate it can be literally worn away by the bristles of the toothbrush. This condition is known as toothbrush abrasion.

The decision to treat receding gums with a gum graft should be determined only after consulting an experienced oral surgeon. Depending upon the extent of the recession and each patient’s periodontal health, the gingival graft procedure is an effective method of restoring the gum tissue.

A gum graft procedure involves the placement of additional gum tissue as a means of protection for the root surface. Either artificial or natural gum tissue can be used, and the process is generally completed under local anesthesia.

The advantages of the gum graft procedure are significant. By strengthening and reinforcing the gumline, patients notice an immediate improvement in terms of tooth sensitivity. Also, support for the teeth is restored and bone loss is reduced. The risk for root caries (cavities on the root structure of the teeth) is dramatically reduced.

There are cosmetic and hygienic benefits to the gum graft procedure as well. Teeth affected by gingival recession tend to look longer than the neighboring teeth. The irregularly shaped gumline may attract plaque and tarter buildup, but may be difficult to keep clean.

Receding gums should never be ignored. Recession should be prevented at its earliest stages, since the lost gum tissue is unable to grow back on its own once it has been lost.

To discuss treatment options for your receding gums, consult our experienced oral surgeons, serving Dallas and the surrounding areas, today.