Receding Gums: Can They Be Fixed?

If you’ve been told by your hygienist, dentist or periodontist that you need a “graft,” don’t panic. A tissue or gum graft may be necessary to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of periodontal disease and gum recession. Recession can be caused by many things including:

  • Periodontal disease
  • Physical trauma (brushing too hard, too often or with a hard brush)
  • Tooth position
  • Gum tissue that is naturally thin

Recession can also make the tooth sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, more prone to root decay and bone loss. Soft-tissue grafts are used to add more gum tissue. This can mouth gums teethaccomplish several things:

  • Prevent further recession
  • Cover the exposed root
  • Stop the sensitivity
  • Improve the look of the tooth

Some people’s gums are naturally very thin. This increases the likelihood they will recede. In these cases, a soft-tissue graft may be done to prevent problems in the future. There are three different types of soft-tissue grafts:

  1. FREE GINGIVAL GRAFTS Similar to a connective-tissue graft, free gingival grafts involve the use of tissue from the roof of the mouth. But instead of making a flap and removing tissue under the top layer of flesh, a small amount of tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth and then attached to the gum area being treated. This method is used most often in people who have thin gums to begin with and need additional tissue to enlarge the gums.
  2. CONNECTIVE-TISSUE GRAFTS This is the most common method used to treat root exposure. During the procedure, a flap of skin is cut at the roof of your mouth and tissue from under the flap, called subepithelial connective tissue, is removed and then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. After the connective tissue — the graft — has been removed from under the flap, the flap is stitched back down.
  3. PEDICLE GRAFTS In this procedure, instead of taking tissue from the palate, it is grafted from gum around or near the tooth needing repair. The flap, called a pedicle, is only partially cut away so that one edge remains attached. The gum is then pulled over or down to cover the exposed root and sewn into place. This procedure can only be done in people who have plenty of gum tissue near the tooth.

Some dentists and patients prefer to use donor tissue instead of tissue from the roof of the mouth. Sometimes tissue-stimulating proteins are used to encourage your body’s natural ability to grow bone and tissue. Your dentist can tell you which method will work best for you.

Ready For Your (Dental) Close-Up?!

Intraoral cameras deliver high-quality images that help patients learn about problem areas and better understand their treatment options. Mounted on the end of a pen-shaped instrument, the tiny intraoral camera can be used to provide detailed imaging of the teeth and gums.

intraoral dental camera
The intraoral camera is an important diagnostic tool at Future of Dentistry.

Digital images are captured instantly and displayed on a monitor, where our patients and clinical staff can view them together. The intraoral camera allows you to be an active partner in your dental treatment. It will enable you to see what we see which can greatly increase your comfort before and during a procedure.

Why Do We Take Them?

Intraoral images are quickly becoming the gold standard in patient care. Intraoral images are important diagnostic aids for our clinical team. With an enlarged intraoral image of your patient’s teeth on your computer monitor, you have the benefit of observing cracks, leaking restorations, calculus, periodontal abnormalities, oral lesions and many other issues.

These images enable our clinical staff to map out a clear plan and assessment of the patient’s needs as well as being able to clearly envision how to correct a problem.

Why Is It Important?

Digital x-rays are essential in determining any dental problems, but they’re not the only diagnostic technology. At Future of Dentistry, we believe in using all tools available to provide our patients with optimal care.

The intraoral camera captures images and displays them in a magnified form, which provides our clinical staff with a better understanding of how to correct a potential issue. It also identifies problems that may not be detected by the traditional method of examination, including cracks in fillings or hairline fractures in teeth.

Patients can now see defects and problems for themselves and make better decisions regarding their own treatment. They can now view the same things their clinical team sees, and understand the implication of not correcting the problem.

Intraoral images are also beneficial when it comes to dealing with dental insurance companies. There are times when our best digital x-rays are not enough to support our clinical recommendations to a dental insurance provider. Sending an intraoral image to the insurance company allows us to show them firsthand exactly what we see. These diagnostic images provide accurate documentation of the tooth’s condition before treatment is performed.

Seeing Clearly

The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is certainly appropriate when it comes to intraoral images. Diagnostic photos inform our treatment recommendations, and elevate the understanding of both the patient and the insurance company.

5 Quick Tips For A Healthy New Year

Happy New Year! This is the time of resolutions and reflections, which is a great thing for your health. Self-improvement doesn’t have to be intense or overwhelming. Here are 5 easy, quick tips for a better smile in 2017.new-year-1904679_1920

  1. Give up on nail biting, pen nibbling and ice cube chewing. These seem like small bad habits, but they can cause a surprising amount of damage to teeth and dental work.
  2. Practice “mindful” brushing. Mindfulness is a buzz word, but it simply means to put aside distractions and focus on the moment. It’s a great message for oral hygiene. Two minutes of quality brushing will do wonders for your oral health. Just by paying attention, you’re more likely to reach all parts of your mouth and teeth. You’ll also maintain better speed and pressure. This is great news for preventing tooth decay and promoting a fresher, whiter smile.
  3. Eat and drink better. Cutting down on carb-heavy and sugary foods is great for your overall health, as well as your oral health. A great first step is to cut out the “big three” of sugary and acidic beverages: soda, sports drinks/water, and energy drinks.
  4. Invest in a custom-fit sports guard. Science continues to reveal the damage caused by concussions and other head injuries. Both adults and youths should play it safe with a customized mouth guard. It’s a minor expense that can make a major difference in your safety and well-being. If you’re a parent, ask about our programs to help make sports guards affordable for kids.
  5. Quit procrastinating. Perhaps you suspect you’ve been grinding your teeth at night. Maybe you know you have cavities that need to be dealt with. It’s natural to want to avoid dealing with health matters, but procrastination is the absolute worst thing you can do. In the long run, delaying treatment is more expensive, more time-consuming and more inconvenient.

From all of us at Future of Dentistry, best wishes for a happy, safe, and healthy New Year!

If you have any questions, we’re always happy to help. Give us a call at 781-245-2299, email info@futureofdentistry.com or submit a message on our website.