Gum Recession Treatment

Gum recession is the phenomenon in which the gum tissues surrounding the teeth recede and wear away, exposing the tooth roots to sensitivity, decay, and infections. Gum recession is often accompanied by gaps and pockets between teeth. These pockets house toxin-secreting bacteria. If left untreated, you will experience irreversible gum and tooth damage and untimely tooth loss. Symptoms of gum recession are:

  • Change in appearance of the gums. You are likely to experience red, swollen, tender and bleeding gums.
  • Persistent foul breath and a foul taste in the mouth.
  • Spaces between teeth.
  • Presence of abscess pockets and fistula.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages.
  • Facial swelling that extends to the neck.
  • Drainage.

What are the reasons of gum recession?

Some of the reasons for gum recession are:

a.  Periodontal diseases

Periodontal diseases infect the gums and damage the surrounding tissues and bone structure. 

b.  Your Genes

Based on their genes, some people are more prone to gum diseases. You may be taking proper oral care measures, but you might suffer from gum diseases due to your genes. 

c.  Poor oral health

Improper brushing and flossing promote plaque and tartar accumulation. These deposits house bacteria and infect the gums and lead to gum recession. 

d.  Hormonal changes

Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy, menopause and puberty cause sensitivity in the gums and make them more prone to gum recession. 

e.  Consuming tobacco-based products

Smoking and chewing tobacco-based products promote the growth of plaque and tartar, accumulation of which causes gum recession. 

f.  Grinding and clenching your teeth

Teeth grinding and clenching apply excess force on the gums and bones, causing them to recede.

g.  Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite

Unevenly placed teeth do not come together properly and apply force on the gums and teeth, causing them to recede and pull away from the tooth surface.

h.  Piercing of the lip or tongue

Piercings in the lip or tongue irritate the gums to a point that they start pulling away and recede over time.

i.  Vigorous tooth brushing

Aggressive brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush wears away the gums. Brushing is essential for good oral health but causes gum recession when extra pressure is applied.

How is gum recession treatment done?

Gum recession treatment is a two-step procedure.

1. Scaling and root planing

Routine cleanings are performed to prevent gum diseases while scaling and root planing are performed to treat gum diseases. These are non-surgical deep cleaning procedures that thoroughly clean plaque, tartar, calculus, and bacterial toxins from both above and below the gumline.

Scaling and root planing are performed after a thorough X-ray examination. Your dentist will determine the depth of plaque and tartar deposits to devise a treatment plan. Scaling and root planing are carried out under the effect of local anesthesia.

a.  Scaling

Scaling is performed to remove plaque and tartar deposits from above and below the gumline. Your dentist identifies the areas of plaque and tartar deposits through touch and uses a dental scaler and a curette to manually eliminate them. 

Ultrasonic scaling instruments can also be used to perform scaling. The instrument has a vibrating tip and a water spray. The vibrating tip identifies areas of plaque deposits and chips them off, while the water spray cleans abscess and plaque pockets below the gumline. An antimicrobial is used to irrigate the gums to remove bacteria.

Your dentist divides the mouth into halves or four quadrants. Each portion of the mouth is addressed separately. Thus, scaling may require multiple visits to the dentist's office.

b.  Root Planing

Root planing is performed after dental scaling. Root planing accesses the deeper regions and addresses the tooth's roots. It smooths the rough root surfaces for the gums to reattach themselves. Smooth roots prevent plaque, tartar, and bacteria from re-adhering below the gumline and allow your gums to heal and reattach themselves more securely.

After scaling and root planing, the gum pockets are given an antibiotic treatment to accelerate healing and sooths irritation. 

2. Gum Grafting

Gum grafting is a surgical procedure performed to treat gum recession caused due to periodontal diseases, vigorous brushing, genetics or poor oral care. It involves the transplant of healthy tissue to the recessed area thereby improving the strength and length of your gums. 

Before placing the gum grafts scaling and root planing are performed to deeply cleanse the tooth surfaces and gums. Placement of gum grafts involves the extraction of healthy tissue from one area and transplanting it to the recessed area. The process is performed under anesthesia to avoid pain and discomfort. There are three kinds of gum grafting procedures, and your dentist will choose the best option for you depending on the severity of damage and unique individual needs. 

a.  Connective-Tissue Grafts

Connective-tissue grafts are commonly used to tend to receding gums and tissues around teeth whose roots are exposed.

  •  A small incision is made on the roof of the mouth and a strip is cut.
  • Subepithelial healthy tissue is extracted from below the strip and the strip is sutured back securely.
  • The extracted tissue is transplanted to the recessed area and the exposed tooth roots are covered.
  • The transplanted tissue integrates with the receding gums to permanently strengthen and lengthen the gum line.

b.  Free Gingival Grafts

Free gingival grafts are used to strengthen a naturally thin gumline and tissues. They are similar to connective tissue gum grafts and enlarge the naturally thin gumline.

  •  Free gingival grafts don't involve the removal of tissue from under a strip on the roof of the mouth. Instead, the tissue is removed directly from the surface of the palate. 
  • The extracted tissue is transplanted to the recessed area and the exposed tooth roots are covered.
  • The transplanted tissue integrates with the receding gums to permanently strengthen and lengthen the gum line.


c.  Pedicle or Lateral Grafts

Pedicle or lateral grafts are used if you have healthy tissue adjacent to your receding gums. 

  • Pedicle grafts don't use tissue from the roof of your mouth. Instead, a strip of tissue, called a pedicle, is taken from the healthy gums near the recessed area. Only a part of the healthy tissue is cut. 
  • The strip is pulled down to cover the exposed tooth roots in the upper jaw and pulled up to cover the exposed tooth roots in the lower jaw. The tissue-strip is held in place with stitches.
  • Pedicle gum grafts have the highest success rate. They do not stop blood flow in any section of the mouth. After the surgery, the mouth is disinfected using an anti-bacterial mouthwash. 

We, at Bliss Dentistry of Campbell, California, cater to all your needs pertaining to dental services and routine exams. Our Campbell dentists with their entire team persevere to provide you with exceptional treatment that enhances and maintains the beauty of your smile. If you have any further question, queries or dental emergencies and are looking for an experienced dentist in the South Bay Area, feel free to contact us at (408) 963-6678 to schedule an appointment.



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1930 South Bascom Avenue, Suite 100, Campbell, CA 95008

Email: [email protected]

(408) 963-6678

Fax: (408) 963-6668

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