#33 – Understands gum recession

In the 19th century, one of the colorful ways that someone was getting older was to say that s/he was “long in the tooth”. This was their way of observing that older people would get gum recession that made teeth look longer.

As you know, gum recession occurs when the attached gingival pulls away from the cervical of the crown of the tooth. The main causes of recession are:
1. Tooth is in a facial position
2. Heredity can cause thin gum tissue or poor bone support
3. Aggressive tooth brushing
4. Periodontal disease
5. Frenum pulling on the gums

When this recession occurs we will chart and monitor it if:
1. The condition appears stable
2. Okay 1-3 mm of recession has occurred

If the condition is not stable, we will refer to our Periodontist to treat. She has several options:
1. Control periodontal disease and monitor
a. Scale and root plane
b. Re-evaluate at next cleaning

2. Soft tissue graft to create more attached gingival to cover more of the root and prevent further loss
a. Procedure – A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth or from the adjacent teeth and grafted onto the area of recession
b. Procedure may involve more than 1 tooth
c. Benefits
1. Reduce chance of further gum recession
2. Help cover exposed roots
3. Improve appearance of the smile
4. Reduce root sensitivity

Be sure to evaluate the surgical site at the cleaning after the surgery and:
1. Show your client the result
2. Draw your dentists’ attention to the site