Do you think your gums don’t make a difference to your smile? Think again!

Smiling woman with perfect teeth

In the smile, what we notice is the appearance of our teeth. Rarely we do notice much about our gums, which is one reason that gum disease can “sneak up” on us.” The gums and the gum line actually play a major role in the way your smile looks, as well as in your oral health.

Gum recession, in which the gums pull away from teeth, can occur for several reasons. Whether a result of aggressive brushing, age, or infection, receding gums make teeth look longer. What we see is not extra tooth but the tooth root. This is significant because roots do not have the protective coating of enamel that is on the crowns of teeth. Exposed roots are vulnerable because they are softer and can be quickly damaged by bacteria. If root exposure occurs, teeth may feel sensitive. Worse yet, cavities or infection may develop, requiring periodontal therapy or root canal therapy.

How soft tissue grafting can restore your gumline

Soft tissue grafting is done to restore the appearance and condition of gingival tissue. In this brief surgical procedure performed with local anesthetic, Dr. Gupta harvests a small amount of tissue from a donor site, another area of the mouth. This tissue is then sutured to the area in which recession has occurred. If the idea of soft tissue grafting causes you anxiety, you can discuss your options for sedation to make your treatment as stress free as possible.

Several techniques may be used to restore the gumline. Some of the most common are:

  • Free gingival grafting, in which tissue is taken from the pallet, or the roof of the mouth.
  • Connective tissue grafting also harvests tissues from the pallet. In this technique, a small flap of skin is opened and tissue is removed from beneath this flap. The flap is then sutured closed for fast healing.
  • Pedicle grafting involves taking tissue from beneath the gums next to the treatment site. Making a small flap in this area, Dr. Gupta positions one end over the exposed root. Tissue is sutured to keep it in place while healthy new tissue regenerates.

Adding tissue from another area seals the exposed root and protects it from infection and other problems. The grafting procedure also prevents the look of long teeth that occurs with recession. While many of our patients undergo soft tissue grafting to resolve recession, there are those who choose this procedure to improve the appearance of their smile through contouring.

Soft tissue grafting and gum contouring are procedures that Dr. Shivani Gupta is highly skilled in performing. Working with our experienced team, you can enjoy a healthier, more attractive smile. Call Peninsula Dental Implant Center and schedule your consultation.

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