“Hello everyone! Dr. Robert Stanley, Smile Engineer here. Today I want to talk to you about solutions for gum recession. If you’ve been diagnosed with having gums that are moving away from the tooth or your teeth are starting to look long, there are two main types of solutions that we can do [to fix it]. They’re both grafting solutions. The only difference is where the graft material comes from. The first option is to take graft material from somewhere else in the body. Typically, it comes from the roof of the mouth. We then simply move it to the area that needs it. And then we put it [the grafting material] on the roots of those exposed teeth so that they’re protected.
The second option, which sounds a whole lot better to most people, is an option where we actually open up a package and we take out an acellular dermal matrix. This basically just means that the material comes out of a bag. We hydrate it and then we place the grafting material over the defect. In both scenarios, we get great results but there is some clinical decision making that needs to be determined behind the scenes. Your doctor will take care of [those decisions] to make sure they are giving you the right solution for the right location in the mouth. Some of these solutions work better in certain areas than others.
So, why do we do root coverage? If we have this lengthening of the tooth, why do we need to do any of these procedures? When you see longer teeth, and the gums are running away from the tooth, what you’re actually seeing underneath that is bone loss. We’re not just seeing the gums getting longer and running away from the tooth, but the bone underneath is melting away. If the bone melts away too much around a tooth, you can imagine that eventually that tooth would become loose and you might lose the tooth. So, the main reason why we’d want to do an intervention where we stop this from occurring (or we slow it down significantly) is to prevent the loss of the tooth long-term.
The second reason we would do it is for aesthetics. Say, for instance, when you smile you have this defect in your smile line. You see these really long teeth and you’re like, “I don’t want my teeth to be really long in this region — I want them to look like they were when I was younger.” That would be an aesthetic reason to get gum grafting done.”
Gum grafting is considered an oral surgery since it involves some minor suturing, and, in certain cases, removal of gum tissue from another part of the mouth. For some people, that may sound a little scary but you can rest assured that, in our office, gum grafting is a routine procedure that our team has perfected. The type of sedation we use depends on the length of your specific procedure and your own desires. If you wish to not remember the surgery at all, we can use IV sedation. In other cases, we may just use a local anesthetic and an oral sedative. Post-procedure, most patients use over-the-counter painkillers to manage mild discomfort.
If you have dental anxiety, we recommend talking to your doctor about the different sedation options so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Before we do any sort of procedure at Stanley Dentistry, we like to do a consultation first. During the consultation, we go over different treatment options and lay out all the finances. We’ll take a look at your teeth and gums to make sure you’re a good candidate for the surgery. If you are, we can set a date for the procedure.