Feeling a sharp pain in your teeth from hot and cold food or drink? Do your teeth suddenly look bigger, giving you a “toothy” smile? These are telltale signs of gum recession.
Typically, gums that have receded cannot grow back on their own. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be treated. Thanks to advances in periodontal care, you may be a good candidate for a gum graft that restores your gum line and covers exposed roots of teeth.
Wondering if you need a gum graft? Find out as our periodontists explain gum recession—or what exactly happens when your gums recede—how gum grafting can treat it, and the most common signs that you need a graft.
What is gum recession?
Gum recession occurs as the gum tissues surrounding teeth are lost or recede. Over time, receded gums expose more of the teeth’s surface and eventually the roots. This causes gaps to form between the gums and the teeth, where bacteria can collect and cause gum disease or inflammation of the gum line. When left untreated, gum disease can progress to the bone that supports teeth.
How is gum recession treated?
The most crucial aspect of treating gum recession is early detection. This allows your periodontist to mitigate the early signs of gum disease by removing plaque that has hardened into tartar.
If your periodontist determines that gum disease has progressed, they can perform scaling and root planning to remove built-up plaque and tartar and treat diseased gum tissue. Then, they’ll scale the surfaces of the teeth and roots to make them smooth and disease-free.
The good news is, with early detection, gum recession can be mitigated to prevent the development of gum disease. Your periodontist may recommend gum grafting to restore healthy gum tissue and prevent further loss.
What is gum grafting?
A gum graft or soft tissue graft is a restorative treatment designed to mitigate the loss of healthy gum tissue due to recession. In this procedure, your periodontist will take soft tissue often from the palate (the roof of the mouth) and graft it onto the area where the gums have receded.
Other methods of gum grafting can include using donor tissues or the Pinhole technique.
As a result, gum grafting covers receded gums and exposed roots of teeth. Gum grafting corrects an uneven, receded gum line. It increases the thickness of gum tissues to reinforce support around teeth, preventing them from loosening. Ask your periodontist which technique is best for your gum recession.
5 Signs that You Need Gum Grafting
Heightened tooth sensitivity and a “toothier” smile are just some of the most common indicators that you may need soft tissue grafting to reverse damage from gum recession. Here are more signs to look out for.
1. A bigger, “toothier” smile
A healthy, attractive smile is the perfect ratio of gums to visible surface area of teeth. If your smile appears increasingly big or “toothy” over the years, it indicates gum recession. Keep in mind that permanent adult teeth aren’t growing anymore, so when more of your teeth are showing, it means the gums are receding. When gums recede, they expose the roots of teeth and leave them without protection against bacteria build-up, leading to plaque, tartar, and progression to gum disease.
2 .Heightened tooth sensitivity
Are you experiencing increased sharp or dull pains when eating or drinking hot soup and coffee or ice-cold drinks and desserts like ice cream? Tooth sensitivity is an early indicator of exposed roots. Teeth become sensitive to extreme temperatures because receded gums leave nerve endings in the roots exposed.
3. Visible cementum
Cementum is the material that covers the roots of teeth. As with exposed roots, you shouldn’t be seeing cementum either. It’s light yellow in colour and slightly softer than the enamel that envelops the crown of teeth.
You’ll know that cementum is visible when the base of your tooth appears more yellow compared to the top, where it’s white. This means, more of the tooth’s surface is exposed, as the gums have receded to reveal a whiter part of the teeth.
4. Thin, translucent gums
Healthy gum tissues are thick enough to cover and protect the roots of your teeth. So when they’re thin and appear translucent, a periodontist will recommend gum grafting to restore adequate thickness and protection around teeth. Gum grafting reinforces thin, receded gums with healthy tissue so that they can support the teeth.
5. Red, swollen, and bleeding gums
Healthy gums are typically pink and firm, not red and swollen. Most of all, they aren’t constantly bleeding. But when they do and appear red and swollen, these indicate periodontal disease. Along with root planing, scaling, and deep cleaning, your periodontist may recommend gum grafting to keep the remaining gums healthy and prevent worsening tenderness and bleeding.
What Our Periodontists Say: Find Out if You Need Gum Grafting
Are your gums receding? At Periodontal Associates, our periodontists can perform soft tissue grafting to restore the health of your gums and prevent gum disease. Book your visit to Periodontal Associates in Mississauga to assess your degree of gum recession, and find out how gum grafting can treat it.
By taking tissue from the palate or the roof of your mouth and grafting it onto receded gums, our periodontists can help you tackle the most common symptoms of gum recession. In the long-term, this means lower risk of gum disease and root decay, reduced tooth sensitivity, prevention of bone loss, and an overall healthier and more confident smile.
Think your smile is a bit too “toothy”, or are you experiencing increased tooth sensitivity? Visit our periodontists in Mississauga to learn how gum recession is affecting your gums and teeth. Find out how gum grafting can help.