Repairing Gum Recession

The Problem

Gum recession is common in people of all ages and is the result of your teeth missing or losing part of their bony foundation. Since bone is a scaffold that holds the gums in place, an absence of bone can lead to gum recession. Also, there are two types of gum tissue, one strong and one weak. Recession is more likely in the absence of strong gum tissue called attached gingiva (gum). This type has fibers that form a strong attachment to the tooth and underlying bone. The weak type lacks this attachment strength and is more prone to recession. When you have both bone loss and the weak gum, recession is often simply the result of normal, daily activities such as tooth brushing and eating. The use of a medium or hard bristle manual brush with abrasive toothpaste can speed up the recession in areas of weak gum.

A Great Solution

Some cases of gum recession are self limiting, but most are not. For example, recession that results from overzealous brushing can be stopped with a change in cleaning habits such as the use of a soft bristle brush and toothpaste without aggressive abrasive material (such as toothpastes designed to whiten teeth). Some areas may continue to recede, which is where therapy to increase the quantity of strong gum comes in. This usually involves the grafting of gum tissue, or in some cases donor tissue,from one part of the mouth to a site in which gum recession has occurred. In some cases other materials can be used to strengthen gums.

Advances in tissue engineering have increased the probability of generating new bone and speeding healing at the same time soft tissue grafts are placed. One such approach involves the use of the enamel matrix proteins (e.g. Emdogain). Additionally, there are now donor tissues available (e.g. AlloDerm) that allows us to graft and repair recession defects without the necessity of harvesting gum tissue from a separate donor site.

When should I check into repairing areas of gum recession?

  1. If the recession continues.
  2. If the area is of esthetic concern (appearance).
  3. If the root of the tooth is sensitive to hot or cold.
  4. If orthodontic therapy (braces) will move the affected teeth into prominence.
  5. If restorations (fillings, caps, etc.) touch or go below the gum in an area of recession or thin tissue.

Call Dallas Office Phone Number 214-691-2404 with any questions or concerns.