Gum Recession Treatment

Gum Recession Treatment

We specialise in gum recession treatment.

There is a degree of gum recession that is considered as normal e.g. a part of aging process.

However, when there is significant gum recession present it is a concern as it can compromise the health of teeth and may eventually lead to tooth loss.

The reasons for ending up with significant gum recession is often a combination of below factors:

  • Lack of good oral hygiene
  • Vigorous and incorrect technique of tooth brushing
  • Congenitally thin and fragile gums
  • Unfavorable muscle pull from the lips or cheeks
  • Crowded and misaligned teeth
  • Side effect of orthodontic treatment

Treatment for gum recession is generally indicated when there is one or more of the following concerns are present:

  • Gum recession is progressive or there is a risk that it progresses over time
  • Gum recession is showing in your smile and causing aesthetic concerns
  • Gum recession is causing significant tooth sensitivity that is not responding to conventional treatments

If after a careful examination of your gum recession, your periodontist suggests treatment you have to be aware of the procedure, the limitations, potential risks and complications.

Although, according to your periodontist’s assessment the proposed treatment is likely to improve the current situation, you have to be aware that treatment of gum recession is considered a not fully predictable approach.

The reason is that handling and manipulating the often thin and fragile gum is difficult.

Also that healing capacity of different people is highly variable and depends on anatomy, overall health, genetics, smoking history, etc.

An example is that in some people a wound may heal up very quickly and without leaving any scars, whereas is some others it may take much longer and may leave a scar.

There are different surgical approaches to address gum recession and your periodontist will choose the one that has the highest chance of success in your situation.

It is usually done under local anesthesia and involves taking a strip of gum from somewhere else inside the mouth (donor site – usually palate) and transplant it to the area of gum recession (recipient site).

Depending on the situation, the transplanted gum may be placed at the base of the remaining gum to thicken and strengthen the current thin gum, or it may be placed so as to partially cover the tooth root surface exposed by the recession.

Stitches and a dressing are often required to secure the graft in place.

The donor and recipient sites usually take a while (at least two weeks) to heal and during the healing phase eating, drinking and function can be uncomfortable or painful.

Most patients find the discomfort from the donor site (often palate) to be more than the recipient site.

Nevertheless, it is no more than a wound that needs to be looked after so that it heals up and gets covered with new gum.

The recipient site needs to be kept clean with antiseptic mouthwashes and tooth brushing should be avoided at teeth adjacent to the graft for at least one month.

It should be noted that the transplanted gum may take several weeks or even few months to completely integrate to the adjacent gums and therefore an assessment of the success of the treatment will be done at about 3-6 months after surgery.

In some situations, your periodontist may suggest using animal-derived tissues instead of taking gum from somewhere else inside your own mouth.

These animal derived collagens have been in use for a couple of years now and several studies have shown their safety and benefit.

The advantage is that it will eliminate the need for harvesting graft from your own mouth, and thus the post-operative discomfort will be significantly reduced.

However, they are not indicated in all situations and using your own gum often results in a more stable outcome in long-term.

If the graft (either your own gum or the animal-derived collagen) heals well, it is likely that with oral hygiene and at the same time avoiding vigorous brushing it remains stable.

However, graft shrinkage and relapse is not unusual and may happen over time in some patients.

The most common complications following these type of gum surgeries are discomfort, bleeding, swelling and bruising.

Other complications such as infection and complete failure of the graft, nerve damage and subsequent numbness of lip or tongue are generally very uncommon but not impossible.

To consult a periodontist, call Precision Periodontics on (02) 8093 2680 or book an appointment.