When you’re watching your gum line retreat, it’s normal to feel some panic. For many people, this happens so gradually that you don’t notice the changes until your gum line has already changed dramatically. What can you do about your gums looking like they’re heading for the hills?
The first step is meeting with a restorative dentist. They will help you make the right decisions about your gum recession treatment, and take the first steps toward stabilizing your gum line.
Before your receding gums consultation, learn more about common treatment options by reading further. Plus, some tips about how to stop your gums from receding any further.
What is the Best Treatment for Receding Gums?
As always, the word “best” is a little misleading. There’s no universally recommended option for patients with receding gums. But there are a variety of treatment options that your provider will help you navigate.
The severity of your recession will likely dictate which treatment your dentist recommends; they will also take your needs and concerns into account. These treatment options have differing procedures and associated downtimes (as well as results).
If you have mild gum recession
In many cases, mild gum recession won’t require surgery or more invasive treatment. Instead, a deep cleaning might be adequate.
This procedure is also known as scaling and root planing. During this treatment, your dentist removes plaque and tartar that have become built up on the teeth and on the root surfaces, which are just below the gum line.
The exposed tooth roots are also smoothed down so that it is less likely for bacteria to adhere to the teeth and contribute to plaque. Depending on the health of your gums, you may also be prescribed antibiotics to help manage harmful oral bacteria.
If you have more severe gum recession
If you have had advanced gum disease, it’s likely that you experienced more significant bone loss and that deep pockets formed between teeth and gums. In this case, gum surgery may be necessary to repair soft tissue damage.
There are a few surgical options for gum recession:
- Open flap scaling and root planing – This is a more involved version of the standard deep cleaning. Your dentist or periodontist will fold back the gums so that they have unobstructed access to the tooth roots. They remove bacteria from the pockets between the teeth and gums, and they secure the gums back in place. This both reduces plaque below the gum line and reduces pocket size to repair the gums.
- Regeneration – This procedure helps to regenerate lost bone and soft tissue that have been destroyed by periodontal disease. Regeneration is ideal for patients who have experienced advanced periodontitis. Your dentist will fold back the gum tissue and remove bacteria in the same way as flap scaling and root planing. Then, they will place a material that encourages tissue regeneration in the area. This may be a membrane, graft tissue, or protein that stimulates tissue growth. The material will encourage the body to grow new tissue in the area and naturally rebuild the gum line.
- Soft tissue graft – If you have lost gum tissue in the area, a graft can help you rebuild.
- Connective tissue graft – A flap of skin is cut at the roof of your mouth. Then, tissue under the flap is removed and stitched to the gums around the exposed tooth root. The flap is then closed up.
- Fee gingival graft – During this surgery, tissue is taken directly from the roof of the mouth (rather than from under a flap).
- Pedicle graft – If there is enough tissue still surrounding the teeth in the area of recession, the dentist removes gum tissue from the area to graft in place, leaving the palate untouched.
Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums and recommend the surgery that will be the ideal fit.
The Pinhole Procedure – A Surgical Compromise
Dr. Zymantas is privileged to be able to offer gum recession treatment with the Chao Pinhole Technique. This surgery uses tissue from the immediate area to rebuild the gums. But instead of using grafted tissue, the technique pulls tissue up from a tiny pinhole just below the gum line.
This tissue then heals in place and builds back up the gums.
Pinhole gum rejuvenation is an excellent compromise between more and less invasive treatments. The soft tissues are rebuilt, but the patient is able to enjoy minimal downtime and avoid a traditional tissue graft. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.
Preventing Further Gum Recession
Genetics are a factor in gum recession – but that doesn’t mean you should give up on prevention. Plenty of other components impact your likelihood of developing periodontal disease (and ultimately receding gums). Be sure to adopt the following habits:
- Brush your teeth thoroughly but gently – You need to take good care of your mouth – but aggressive brushing can lead to irritated gums and eroding enamel. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be sure that you are brushing properly.
- Consider your bite – If you have a poorly aligned bite, your teeth may grind together, leading to receding gums. Ask your dentist whether they recommend orthodontic treatment.
- Ditch tobacco – Smoking and smokeless tobacco irritate the gums and inhibit the immune system.
- Eat right – A healthy diet ensures that your teeth and gums receive all the nutrients they need.
- Don’t wear lip or tongue jewelry – Oral piercings can rub against the gums and cause ongoing irritation that wears away the soft tissues.
As always, we are here to help and ensure that your gums stay healthy – get in touch to schedule an appointment and speak with Dr. Zymantas.
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