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Gum Recession

  • Receding gums is often a sign of underlying gum disease.

  • Refers to the progressive loss of gum tissue, which can eventually result in tooth root exposure if left untreated.

The following symptoms may be indicative of gum recession:

• Sensitive teeth – When the gums recede enough to expose the tooth root, the

dentin tubules beneath will become more susceptible to external stimuli such as cold

water or cold air.

• Longer-looking teeth – Individuals experiencing gum recession often have a

“toothy” smile. The length of the teeth is perfectly normal, but the gum tissue has

been lost, making the teeth appear longer.

• Loose or shifting teeth

• Bad breath, swelling, and bleeding – bacterial infection causes the gums to recede

from the teeth and may cause tooth loss if not treated promptly.

The most common causes of gum recession are:

1. As we get older, our gums inevitably begin to recede.

2. Abnormal tooth position

3. Overaggressive brushing –. Brushing too hard or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush

can erode the tooth enamel at the gum line and irritate/inflame gum tissue.

4. Poor oral hygiene – Improper brushing can cause the dental plaque build-up around the teeth and gums which can cause gum recession.

5. Chewing tobacco – Chewing or smoking tobacco can aggravate the gum lining of the mouth and causes gum recession.

Treatment of Gum Recession:

• The nature of the problem which caused the recession to begin with needs to be addressed first.

• If overly aggressive brushing techniques are eroding the gums, a softer toothbrush and a gentler brushing technique should be used. If poor oral hygiene is a problem, prophylaxis (professional dental cleaning) may be recommended to rid the gum pockets of debris and bacteria.

• Once the cause of the gingival recession has been addressed, surgery of a more cosmetic nature (Gum Lift) might be recommended.

Various gum lifting procedures includes following techniques:

I. Using tissue from adjacent tooth that has good gum thickness.

II. Using factors from patient’s blood- Approx 10-15 ml blood is withdrawn and centrifuged to obtain a gel structure. This contains Platelets and its growth factors that can help in gum healing.

III. Using tissues from patient’s other oral sites such as palate

IV. Using commercially available biomaterials.

Procedure in brief:

  • Local anesthesia is administered before starting the surgery

  • The tooth having gum recession is cleaned and the gum tissue is prepared to receive gum graft (from either the adjacent tooth or the other oral sites like palate OR growth factors from patient’s blood 0R commercially available biomaterial).

  • The gum lift site along with the graft is secured with the help of sutures.

Post-operative instructions for the patient:

 Slight pain and swelling are expected after surgery.

 Ice pack to be applied externally after the surgery intermittently

 No brushing at the surgical site for at least 2 weeks

 Suture removal is done after 2 weeks

 Patient will be taught brushing technique to be used after 2 weeks

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