We spend a lot of time caring for our teeth. Because our teeth are what we see when we speak and smile, we want them to look good. That desire prompts us to brush daily. However important our teeth are to appearance, there is also a necessity to ensure they and the gums that surround them stay as healthy as possible.
The gums are part of the foundation of functional teeth. Studies have also confirmed that gum health is directly related to our general health. At Dental365, we prioritize gum health by providing general and extended exams and cleanings.
What are Receding Gums?
Healthy gums sit firmly around teeth. When plaque, a sticky biofilm, accumulates on teeth, it tends to sit along the gum line. Plaque is acidic and weakens the gum tissue around teeth over time. Weakness in the gums causes this tissue to loosen and pull away from the tooth. This is gingival (or gum) recession.
Gum recession is one of the most common dental problems affecting adults today. It can take years to develop and it may progress so gradually that one doesn’t even realize they are losing tissue that cannot be replaced. It may not be until a tooth or teeth start to look longer that the problem of gum recession is recognized.
How Far Can Gums Recede?
Gums can recede to the extent at which the uppermost portion of the root becomes visible. Damage can also extend to the ligament and the bone, where it cannot be seen. Prompt care for receding gums is important to avoid significant consequences.
Can Receding Gums Grow Back?
Gum tissue does not regenerate the way that other tissue does. Once gums have started to recede, they cannot naturally grow back. At the first sight of gum recession, it is necessary to schedule a dental appointment. Early treatment for gum recession can slow or possibly even halt the progression of breakdown in the gums.
Will My Teeth Fall Out From Receding Gums?
Statistics indicate that the majority of adult tooth loss stems from gum recession and periodontal disease. This is because the loss of gum tissue destabilizes teeth. The advancement of bacterial infection in the gums then affects the ligament and bone that also stabilize teeth.
At some point in this advancement, there is not enough tissue to hold teeth in place. The teeth are vulnerable to falling out but, in many cases, are extracted by the dentist before this happens.
Is There Treatment For Receding Gums?
Yes. The earlier that treatment is sought for receding gums, the better. When gum recession is mild, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning of the affected area. Gum recession can be generalized or localized and further classified into chronic or acute appearances. Deep cleaning focuses on the teeth affected. This treatment is also called scaling and root planing. It removes the plaque and tartar that have built up on the tooth and also smoothes the root surface so bacteria have a difficult time attaching. Depending on the extent of gum disease at the time of treatment, an antibiotic may also be applied to the space between the teeth and gums.
When gum recession is more severe, a deep cleaning may not be enough to resolve the problem. Extensive gum recession may indicate exceedingly deep pockets around affected teeth. Here, there is also a chance that some of the bone that supports the tooth has been lost. For severe gum recession, a dentist may advise treatment with a gum and bone surgeon called a periodontist where the gums can be repositioned. Your periodontists will discuss all of the available options to treat receding gums, and will recommend the most effective option for you.
Our practice is unique in that we treat gum recession using a combination of YSGG laser therapy and oral regenerative medicine techniques to offer the most advanced periodontal treatment anywhere in the world.
Is Gum Grafting Painful?
Gum grafting is performed with a local anesthetic that numbs the area of the mouth being treated. Some dentists use the patient’s tissue as a graft, while others use tissue from a tissue bank, which then limits the procedure to only one surgical site. Local anesthetic makes the gum grafting procedure virtually painless. The only discomfort a patient may feel is the slight poke of the anesthesia needle. When tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth, this area may feel sore for a few days. The teeth that have been treated, as well, may also be sore if the gums are lifted to access roots.
The laser technique used at Dental365 is very conservative and does not require incisions, so patient comfort may be higher than a standard gum graft procedure.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Gum Graft Surgery?
Recovery from gum graft surgery is relatively quick. Patients may be able to return to work as soon as the day after their procedure. However, tenderness or tooth sensitivity may be experienced for several days.
Comfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and with toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Full healing is expected in 1 to 2 weeks.