Gingival (gum) recession is a common periodontal problem. In health, the gum tissue serves as a protective barrier. It protects the supporting structures of the teeth (mainly the jawbone) from harmful effects from bacteria and food.
Recession in the gum tissue is always an indication that bone loss has occurred. Frequently, the gum recession and bone loss are progressive unless treated. In severe cases, this can result in loss of teeth. Gum and bone recession also cause exposure of roots. The exposed roots are very prone to decay, and could also be very sensitive to temperature (hot or cold food and beverages). Gum and bone recession also result in cosmetic changes. Teeth that have lost gum and bone appear unsightly, and too long.
Gum recession can be caused or accelerated for a variety of reasons, such as genetics, aggressive tooth brushing, previous orthodontic (braces) treatment, and uncontrolled grinding. Gum recession can be difficult to self-diagnose in its earlier stages, because the changes often occur asymptomatically and gradually. Regular dental check-ups will help to prevent gum recession and enable treatment at an early stage. Dr. Kaufman can help you identify the factors contributing to the problem. Once these contributing factors are controlled, a soft tissue graft procedure will repair the defect and help to prevent additional gum recession and bone loss.
Soft tissue grafts are used to cover roots or recreate lost gum tissue due to excessive gingival recession. During this procedure, Dr. Kaufman takes gum tissue from your palate or another donor site to cover the exposed root. This procedure can be done for one tooth or several teeth. Dr. Kaufman can also use synthetic materials (and not your own gum tissue) for this procedure.
Most importantly, a soft tissue graft would reduce or prevent further gum recession and bone loss. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay. As a result, it helps reduce tooth sensitivity and improves the aesthetics of your smile.