Denver, CO – Your gums play an important role, not just in the health of your mouth, but in the aesthetic beauty of your smile and the function of your mouth. Gum recession doesn’t just leave you with a less than beautiful smile, it can also wreak havoc on your oral health.
In patients with gum disease, pockets form where the teeth and gum meet. If these pockets aren’t treated, bacteria can build up in them. This can then lead to damage to the tissue and bone, and eventually even tooth loss.
There are several reasons why you may experience gum recession. The first, and most common, is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection that attacks the gum tissue, pulling it away from the tooth and forming pockets. For some people, developing gum disease is simply a case of genetics, while for others it is due to lifestyle choices such as smoking or poor oral health habits.
Some people may cause damage to their gums due to aggressively brushing their teeth. If you get too zealous in your cleaning habits, you can actually strip away the enamel that protects your teeth and cause your gums to recede.
For women, hormone fluctuations that naturally occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can cause the gums to become sensitive and more susceptible to gum recession.
But there is help. Gum recession is a fairly common dental issue, and one that can be corrected with professional periodontics treatment from a trained Denver periodontist.
The first step is knowing that you have gum recession. Gums typically recede slowly over time, so you may not notice the issue until you begin experiencing problems. The first noticeable side effect will be tooth sensitivity. The gums work to protect the root of the tooth, where sensation can be felt. If your teeth begin to look longer than normal, and you suddenly experience sensitivity to hot and cold, among other things, it’s time to seek out the expertise of a periodontist.
If your gum recession is due to periodontal disease, it will be important to undergo treatment to correct the damage caused by the disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease will lead to tooth loss. Your periodontist will recommend cleaning the pockets caused by the disease to remove all bacteria. In some cases, a thorough cleaning of the infected areas will allow some of the gum tissue to regenerate. Proper care of your teeth and regular checkups with your periodontist can ensure further recession doesn’t occur.
In other cases, you may need a gum graft. But don’t worry, the periodontists at Altura Periodontics are experts and the procedure is relatively simple.
First, your periodontist will determine which type of graft will be best to treat your specific needs. There are three types of gum graft procedures:
- Connective tissue grafts are the most common, and involve cutting a flap of skin from the roof of your mouth to remove tissue to then stitch to the gum at the site of your exposed tooth root.
- Free gingival grafts take a small amount of tissue directly from the roof of your mouth to attach to the gum. This works especially well in patients who may have thin gums and who require additional tissue to properly enlarge the gums.
- Pedicle grafts takes gum tissue from the area around the tooth that has the gum recession. The periodontist will cut a flap, or pedicle, leaving it attached on one side. The flap will be pulled over to cover the root that is exposed and sewn into place. This procedure will only work in patients who have sufficient gum tissue remaining near the affected tooth.
Your periodontist will provide after care instructions following your gum graft procedure. It is important to follow these to ensure proper healing.
You’ll need to avoid brushing or flossing the gum line until the area has healed. You’ll also be given a special mouth rinse that will control the growth of plaque in your mouth, and you may also be given an antibiotic to avoid any risk of infection.
Your mouth will be sensitive for about a week following the procedure, so you’ll want to eat cool, soft foods. You’ll want to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that was treated for about two weeks. Your mouth may take up to two weeks to heal fully, however, you can resume normal activities the day following your surgery.
The amount of discomfort you feel after surgery will depend on the type of procedure you had. If your graft came from your palate, you may experience slight pain, discomfort or sensitivity to the roof of your mouth for several days.
If you experience any bleeding, severe pain or swelling, you should call your periodontist right away.
To ensure you don’t experience gum recession again, it’s important to pay close attention to your oral care habits. Brush twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss at least once a day. Maintain regular check-ups with your dentist and maintenance appointments with your periodontist. Eat a healthy diet, and if you are a smoker, find a way to quit.
If you’re ready to tackle your gum recession problem, call Altura Periodontics today.
© 2015 Millionairium and Altura Periodontics. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Altura Periodontics are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.