GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) When it comes to having a beautiful smile, teeth are not the only part of the equation. The health and appearance of gum tissue is very important as well. Dr. Betsy Bakeman says fighting gum recession is important for overall oral health.
Gum recession can happen as a person ages, but it can also occur as a young adult. People have a tendency to have more gum recession when they have thin gum tissues and bone surrounding the teeth combined. Trauma can make it worse. Even using a tooth brush aggressively can accelerate the problem.
In the past, the only way to restore the gum tissue was to take it from other areas of the mouth – either the surrounding gum tissue or from the palate (the roof of the mouth). The down sides of this process are having two surgical sites, the potential inability to harvest adequate amounts of tissue, and often the site of donation was more uncomfortable after the surgery than the area that’s being treated. Now dentists can use something called allograft, which is donated tissue. They mobilize the patient’s surrounding gum tissue in the area of the recession and hike it back down or up to cover the teeth and slide the donated tissue underneath to thicken the area. The results are beautiful because they use the surrounding tissue as the surface covering, avoiding having a second surgical site and they can cover large areas of recession
Not all areas of recession should be treated and there is no data to show that it prevents tooth loss. Dr. Bakeman does grafting because of aesthetic considerations, sensitivity issues, and to prevent the problem from progressing. There is data to show that once the recession exceeds four millimeters, it has a high probability of advancing.
Elizabeth Bakeman, DDS
Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry
2757 Leonard NE
Grand Rapids, MI