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Soft Tissue Grafting

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Gum Recession

Gum recession is a common dental condition in which the gum tissue that surrounds and protects the teeth and dental implants begins to pull away, or recede, revealing more of the tooth or dental implant structure and potentially exposing the tooth's root or dental implants metallic surface. This can cause sensitivity, pain, and even tooth or implant loss if left untreated. It is often caused by factors such as poor oral hygiene, genetics, or even certain medical conditions and position of the tooth or implant. Early detection and treatment of gum recession is crucial for maintaining the health and function of your teeth, implants and gums.

Types of Gum Recession

There are several types of gum recession, including:

  1. Localized gum recession: This type affects one or a few teeth/implants and is usually caused by improper brushing and flossing techniques, periodontal disease, genetics and tooth/implant position.

  2. Generalized gum recession: This type affects multiple teeth and is usually caused by systemic factors such as genetics, hormonal changes, or certain medical conditions but also improper brushing and flossing techniques,

  3. Trauma-induced gum recession: This type is caused by physical injury to the gums, such as from toothbrush abrasion or injury to the gums during sports.

  4. Pathologic gum recession: This type is caused by underlying diseases such as periodontitis, an autoimmune disorder, or a nutritional deficiencies (Vitamin C).

  5. Age-related gum recession: This type is caused by natural aging process and also by the accumulation of plaque and tartar over time.

It is important to note that these are not mutually exclusive and that one type of gum recession can be caused by multiple factors, and it's important to have a proper diagnosis from a periodontist to know the best course of treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of gum recession include:

  • Teeth or Implants appearing longer than normal

  • Implants develop a dark colour at the gum line

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures

  • Tenderness or discomfort when eating or brushing

  • Swelling, redness, or bleeding of the gums

  • Receding gums (shrinking gums)

  • Formation of pockets between the teeth and gums

  • Loose teeth

  • Changes in bite or the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

  • A change in the appearance of a tooth's color

  • Loss of bone in the jaw

It's important to note that some of these symptoms may not be noticeable until the recession is advanced, so regular dental check-ups are important in order to detect and treat gum recession early.

How is Gum Recession Treated?

There are several surgical options for treating gum recession, including:

 

Soft tissue grafts: This procedure involves taking a small piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth or from a tissue bank and attaching it to the area of recession. This can help cover exposed roots and promote new tissue growth. Types of soft tissue grafts include:

  1. Free gingival graft: This procedure involves taking a full piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth or from a tissue bank (allograft) and stitches the who gum over the gum recession

  2. Connective tissue grafts: This procedure involves taking a small piece of tissue (thin) from the roof of the mouth or from a tissue bank and stitches the who gum over the gum recession

  3. Coronally or Laterally advanced flap: This procedure is a type of flap surgery where the gum tissue is folded back, the root/implant surface is cleaned, and the tissue is then repositioned to cover the exposed root/implant. This can help cover exposed roots/implants and promote new tissue growth.

  4. Pinhole/Tunnel surgical technique: This procedure, involves making a small hole in the gums and gently stretching the tissue to cover the exposed root. This procedure is less invasive than traditional flap surgery in conjuction with a soft tissue graft or utilising PRF (see PRF section)

  5. It's important to note that not all of these options are suitable for everyone and that the best course of treatment will depend on the specific case and the recommendation of the periodontist.

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