Have you ever heard the old saying “long in the tooth” used to refer to someone who is getting older? The expression gained popularity in the 1800s when people used to tell the age of horses by looking at their teeth and gums. Although horse teeth appear to grow longer as the horse ages, it is really more a function of the gums receding and the teeth moving around.
The same thing that happens to horse teeth also happens to people, though to a much less dramatic extent. As we age, our gums tend to recede, making our teeth look longer and our smiles look older.
In addition to the cosmetic downsides of being “long in the tooth,” when gum tissue recedes, it exposes more of the tooth, or even the tooth root, making individuals more susceptible to cavities on the root surface as well as and bone damage/loss. Gum recession is also a leading cause of sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
Dr. Gregory A. Pette, a board-certified periodontist (gum specialist), routinely performs periodontal plastic surgery in Cape Coral, FL which is designed to rebuild lost gum tissue.
These procedures are commonly known as gum grafts during which the gum is rebuilt by transferring healthy gum tissue from other areas of the mouth, or from other sources, onto existing gum tissue. This is done in order to reduce recession and cover exposed, unsightly roots. Strong healthy gums also aid in limiting future bone loss around teeth.
How Do Gum Grafts Work?
Gum grafting procedures are relatively simple and cause little discomfort. Dr. Pette gently performs these procedures in Cape Coral, FL under local anesthetic so the patient doesn’t feel any discomfort during the procedure. Most patients are able to return to normal activities the very next day.
Patients should feel free to bring headphones to be able to listen to music if they choose. For patients who may be particularly anxious, we do offer IV conscious sedation,
There are several ways to obtain a gum graft – one is to use your own tissue. This method is the oldest and versions of it have been around since 1966. Is very well accepted but there are times patients do not have the quantity or quality of tissue to donate for a healthy and long-lasting result.
Another source is to use donor tissue. This is very well researched and is an excellent option for patients requiring multiple teeth to be grafted or patients who do not want a donor site. The gum graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth. Generally, the main goal of gum grafting is to increase the tough, bound down gum tissue around teeth to prevent further recession and bone loss. However, we often have the secondary goal of covering the exposed root surface as well.
Why Get a Gum Graft?
From a purely cosmetic perspective, gum grafts can make crowns, veneers, or dental implants look more natural, improving the aesthetics of your smile.
Grafting is also important for people dealing with medical issues, especially dry mouth. As mentioned above, receding gums can make you more susceptible to cavities on the softer root surface, and can cause sensitivity to hot and cold foods. Some people even end up losing teeth because of gum recession. Rebuilding the gums helps to prevent these structural issues as well as aid in preventing problems in the future.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Gregory A. Pette Today. Call us at (239) 610-6200
Gum grafting is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words plastic surgery, but having a beautiful smile to match your other features is important. Don’t let your gums prematurely age you, or cause you pain and discomfort by making you more susceptible to root cavities and temperature sensitivity. Contact our doctors today in our Cape Coral, FL office to schedule a smile consultation.