Gum Recession 101

A healthy tooth is surrounded by gum tissue, but sometimes gum tissue can breakdown in a process called recession, resulting in an exposure of the root surface.

Gums can recede away from the teeth for a number of reasons, including: improper brushing, using a brush with hard bristles, trauma, genetics, orthodontics, or a strong frenum (muscle) pull.  When the attached tissue is very thin, the area becomes even more susceptible to breakdown, ultimately leading to a destabilization of the tooth.

Some types of gum recession require treatment, others can be monitored for further changes.

What’s important is making sure the bone and gum support around the teeth is engineered to resist further deterioration and further damage.  There are several periodontal plastic surgery techniques that can be used to repair gum recession.  Every patient receives their individualized treatment plan depending on their unique dental situation.

Nearly everyone who has recession of the gums with minimally attached tissue and is in general good health is a candidate for gum grafting.  The first step in investigating if you are a good candidate involves an examination and consultation with Dr. Fritz or Dr. Schuldt.

Prior to your procedure, an impression of your upper jaw is taken to model a stent.  A stent is a thin, plastic retainer that is worn after your periodontal gum grafting surgery to protect your palate.

On the day of your procedure, the graft tissue is harvested from the palate and then overlaid on the exposure root surface and held in place to heal with sutures.

Two weeks post-operatively, you will return to have the sutures gently removed and four weeks post-operatively you will return for a final check of the area by your periodontist.  At this moment, any brushing and eating modifications will be lifted if your healing is on track and in line with the expectations of your periodontist.

It is imperative to follow all of Dr. Fritz and Dr. Schuldt’s post-operative instructions to ensure the successful healing and integration of your graft.  Our team are experts in how to care for your graft and will give you all of the instruction and guidelines that you need to provide the best care at home.

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