Many individuals prioritize taking care of their teeth during their oral hygiene routine. However, they often neglect to pay enough attention to their gum health. This is problematic as healthy gum tissue is crucial for both the appearance and function of your smile. Dr. Donnelly, at 24th Street Dental Biltmore, offers various cosmetic and restorative treatments that not only enhance your smile but also promote optimal oral health. One such treatment is soft tissue grafts, which may be required to safeguard your teeth from the harmful impacts of gum recession.
What Is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is a condition where your soft tissues deteriorate, revealing more of the tooth and root. It is a common issue that often goes unnoticed by patients until their visit with 24th Street Dental Biltmore dentist, Dr. Donnelly, or dental checkup. This is because gum recession is a gradual process that is often painless and difficult to detect. If left untreated, gum recession can cause extensive damage to the alveolar bone and eventually result in tooth loss.
Causes of Gum Recession
Gum recession is often caused by periodontal disease, an infection that affects the gums, bones, and ligaments that support the teeth. This infection is caused by bacteria found in plaque and tartar buildup. The immune system releases toxins in response to fight the bacteria, which can also damage healthy tissues. Factors such as genetics, hormone changes, systemic illnesses, teeth grinding, misaligned teeth, and poor oral hygiene can contribute to periodontal disease. Tobacco use and smoking can also increase the risk.
Improper brushing and flossing techniques can also contribute to gum recession. For instance, using too much force while brushing or flossing can harm the soft tissues of your gums. If your gum recession is caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar, we may suggest a scaling and root planing procedure. In cases where the recession is severe, our dentist may discuss the option of a soft tissue graft.
Tissue Grafting Procedures
There are three primary types of soft tissue grafts, which will be determined during your consultation with Dr. Donnelly, at 24th Street Dental Biltmore, to find the most suitable option for you. These procedures consist of the following:
- Connective-Tissue Graft Procedure. Dr. Rifkin will start the procedure by making an incision in the rough of your mouth, also known as the palate. A flap will be created, allowing us to access the subepithelial connective tissue located underneath. This tissue will be carefully removed and then sutured onto the area where the roots are exposed. Once the tissue is securely in place, the flap will be sutured back onto the palate.
- Free gingival grafting is a procedure that involves taking graft tissue directly from the palate, as opposed to using tissue from underneath a flap, similar to a connective-tissue graft.
Pedicle Graft: In this procedure, we take gum tissue from the area surrounding the graft site and form a flap, known as a pedicle. The pedicle is detached from the gum on only one side. Then, we gently pull the tissue over the exposed root and secure it in its new position using sutures.