At the time of your dental cleaning and exam your dental professional should be taking note about both the health of your tissue and bone, any evidence of cavities, and how your gum tissue recession measures up. Tissue that has receeded can be surgically grafted to cover the exposed root surface providing both an esthetic benefit and support for the tooth. A bone graft can also be done at the same time to add more support and further enhance the root coverage from the graft.
So, what causes gum tissue recession? There are many professional opinions as to what the "true" causes of recession are. Typically brushing too hard with a toothbrush can cause us to wear away the delicate tissue. For this reason we recommned the use of a SONICARE toothbrush or the use of a soft manual brush. Patients sometimes state that they do not feel like their teeth get cleaned well with a soft toothbrush. Actually, brushing with a soft brush, in the proper way, for at least 5 minutes usually provides a thorough cleaning. Tissue recession can also be caused by the natural biting forces of your dentition. Often times tooth movement through orthodontics can lead to some sort of recession. This is easily corrected and should not be cause for shying away from orthodontics and getting the most beautiful smile. Gum tissue recession can often make our teeth sensitive to sugar, hot and cold temperatures and sometimes even to the touch.
Gum tissue grafts work best when using your own tissue. This tissue is taken from a small area on the roof of the mouth. It is then surgically placed over the area where there is recession and over about a 2 week period new tissue begins to develop covering the exposed root of the tooth. A patient goes from having no strong tissue attatchment to having a strong durable tissue attatchement that can be maintained with correct brushing for many years. If there is an area that has several teeth that need grafting we can use a collagen tissue that stimulates our body to produce new gum tissue cells and provides root coverage. Using our own tissue usually has the best outcome but it is always nice to know that there are other options when needed.
So the next time you take a good look at your smile in the mirror, look for areas that you think might be gum tissue recession and be sure to ask your dental professional about it and what can be done to prevent it, improve it or for a referral to a Board Certified Periodontist for some tissue grafting.