We have gum or gingival recession in cases where the gingival margin moves away from the crown of the tooth. In healthy teeth and gums the tissue embraces the tooth firmly, this tight union prevents food particles from getting in between the gum and the tooth but it also protects the parts of the tooth that underneath the tissue. As the gum moves away from the tooth, parts of the tooth that are not made to withstand exposure to elements such as bacteria, acids and sugars are exposed in the same way as the upper part of the tooth. This situation can lead to hypersensitivity to thermal changes, decay or wear of the tooth root and aesthetic problems.
Gingival recession can happen in people of all ages and in a large percentage of cases it is observed in people who have a very good oral hygiene.
Causes of gingival recession:
– Overzealous tooth brushing or use of a hard bristle toothbrush
– Gum disease
– Previous orthodontic treatments
– Accumulation of calculus or tartar
– Poorly adjusted prostheses
– Genetics (people with very thin gums or bone)
– Muscle attachments that pull the tissue constantly
Treatment of gingival recession:
The first step is to modify the brushing technique if it is too aggressive or to correct the ill-fitting prosthesis. This does not cause the tissue to grow back but it prevents the problem from progressing. In cases where there is gum disease, this should be treated by a dentist first, where he or she will remove bacterial plaque and calculus from the tooth and root surfaces.
Once all the causative factors have been modified, a gum graft can be performed. With this procedure, tissue is obtained from another part of the patient’s mouth, usually from the palate and placed on the recession area. This same procedure can be done with allografts (tissue from a corpse) or collagen-based materials and thus avoid having to obtain the tissue from the palate. Once the procedure is performed and the root is completely or partially covered, the firm union of the gum to the tooth that protects against caries and dental hypersensitivity is restored, as well as improving the aesthetics of the smile.
The success of the procedure will depend on the care that the patient gives it. It is important to avoid hard brushes or be too aggressive when brushing to prevent having a relapse of the lesion. Home care as well as visiting your dentist every 6 months is an easy and inexpensive way to avoid painful and complicated problems in the future.