What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is when the gum tissue starts to pull back or wear away from the tooth, thereby revealing more of the tooth or its roots. When gums start to recede, pockets and gaps can occur between the gum line and the teeth which can allow for bacteria to build and disease to accumulate. Gum recession can be caused by the following factors:
- Hormonal changes
- Smoking which can cause sticky plaque on the teeth
- Teeth clenching or grinding that puts too much force on the teeth
- Poor dental care that allows for plaque and tartar to build up
- Aggressive brushing of the teeth that wears away enamel
- Genes can make patients more predisposed to gum disease
- Periodontal diseases that destroy gum tissue
If gum recession is left untreated it can cause severe loss of bone structure and supporting tissue which eventually leads to tooth loss.
How to prevent gum recessions
Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing gum recession and avoiding the above listed factors can also help. Brushing and flossing daily is important and visiting the Dentist at least twice a year (and more frequently depending on patients oral health), to have a check-up and clean is crucial in maintaining good oral hygiene.
Additionally, the following factors can help prevent gum recession:
- Eliminate the use of tobacco products
- Eat a healthy and well balanced diet
- Monitor any changes that occur with your mouth, such as teeth grinding or clenching
How to treat gum recessions
A gingival graft, also called gum graft or periodontal plastic surgery, is the procedure used to treat gum recessions. The goal is to cover exposed root surfaces or to augment the tissue so that the recession no longer appears.
Gum grafting options
There are two types of gum grafting:
- Traditional gum grafting – this involves the use of ‘donor tissue’ or soft tissue to rebuild the gum line. While this form of treatment is effective, it carries many risks such as possible disease transmission and can have a longer recovery.
- Additive Free Platelet-Rich Fibrin (AF PRF) gum grafting – At the Dental & Facial Clinic we prefer to use the AF PRF procedure to gum grafting. This involves a fibrin clot to be fabricated and implanted into the gums above the area of gum recession. Advanced platelet-rich fibrin will promote the patient’s own gums to fabricate more gum which eliminates the need to harvest gums from the roof of the mouth as done in traditional gum grafting techniques.
The advantages of AF PRF gum grafting are:
- Unlimited amount available
- No risk of rejection or disease transmission (as your using your own blood)
- Less recovery time due to enhanced healing factors (autogenous growth factors and hematopoietic stem cells)