If you have gum disease, your gums are going to recede. It will make your teeth appear to be longer and the roots of your teeth will become exposed. Besides making you look older, it also means your tooth roots will soon develop cavities. A soft-tissue graft can remedy that situation.

When tooth roots are exposed, it will be almost unavoidable that cavities will eventually develop. This is because the tooth roots do not have the same protective enamel on them that the crowns of your teeth have on them. It also opens the door for gum disease by making it easier for the bacteria that cause it to get into your gums.

While the main cause of gum recession is gum disease, brushing your teeth with hard bristles or with too much pressure can also have the same effect. When your gums recede, they are not going to grow back.

The primary way that is used today to remedy this problem is a surgical technique called a soft-tissue graft, also called a gingival graft. During this procedure, the oral surgeon will take some tissue from the roof of your mouth. This can be done in one of two ways: either by taking it directly from the roof of your mouth (free gingival graft), or by cutting a flap (connective tissue graft) and then taking some tissue from underneath the flap.

Tissue can also be obtained from a donor, which will prevent the need for a second surgical site. Once the tissue has been obtained, it will be stitched directly on the gums to cover up the exposed tooth roots.

If the tissue is obtained from the roof of your mouth, you may need to have multiple surgeries. This is because there is only a limited amount of tissue there and time will be needed to grow more.

Another method that may be used to cover your tooth roots is called a pedicle graft. In this graft, the surgeon or periodontist may cut gum tissue in half above a neighboring tooth, leaving one side still attached. It will then be pulled over the exposed tooth root and sutured in place. This method is only used when there is plenty of gum tissue present.

A soft-tissue graft can also be performed for aesthetic purposes. Your teeth look longer after the gums have receded. This surgery can restore a more youthful look and it will protect your tooth roots.

After the soft-tissue graft, you will need to eat soft foods only for a while so that the gum tissue is not disturbed or damaged. You will also need to avoid brushing or flossing around the surgical site until your dentist permits it. Pain medicine will be prescribed and you will likely need over-the-counter medications for a few days, too. Healing can be expected to take two to three weeks.

If your gums have receded and you need the roots of your teeth recovered, or if you want a more youthful appearance, contact your local periodontist today. You can also call and ask questions, or make an appointment for a consultation.

Dr. Ana Pesaturo earned her Masters Degrees in Healthcare and Business administration from the University San Martin of Colombia South America in 1991. She then completed her Advanced General Esthetic Dentistry residency program at the Community Smiles Dental Research Clinic in Miami, Florida, and her General Hospital Dentistry residency at Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio State. Dr. Pesaturo currently works as a private dentist in the Miami area and as a dental consultant in healthcare management. Read more at https://anapesaturo.com/about/meet-dr-pesaturo/