Management of gum recession consists primarily of two types of treatments, both of which involve gum grafting. The objective of treatment is to increase the amount of gingiva (“pink gums”) around the tooth, in order to prevent further recession, and where possible, cover the exposed root. Long term studies have shown that when recession in association with thin gingiva is left untreated, the recession is more likely to progress.
CONNECTIVE TISSUE GRAFT
A graft is a thin piece of gum tissue taken from the side of the roof of the mouth. The graft is usually placed over the exposed root surface, to improve the esthetics and reduce root sensitivity. The amount of root coverage may vary depending on local factors. It is not always possible to cover the entire root surface. The procedure also helps build up thicker band of gingiva next to the tooth, establishing a healthier gum line and better resistance to further recession.
FREE GINGIVAL GRAFT
A gum graft is a thin piece of gum tissue usually taken from the side of the roof of the mouth. Its main purpose is to stop the progression of the recession. The graft is usually placed at the base of the recession, to strengthen the attached tissue and prevent further recession. Exposed roots are usually not covered with this procedure.
WHAT TO EXPECT FOLLOWING THE PROCEDURE
The procedure typically has minimal post-operative discomfort. Most patients take Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen for 1-2 days following the procedure. It is important to avoid brushing the teeth in the area of the graft for 1-2 weeks.
The Pinhole Technique has been heavily marketed as a nonsurgical alternative, however, we believe since there is still injury to the tissue, and the gums have to be separated from the underlying bone in order be draped over the exposed roots, it still should be considered a surgical procedure. We would be happy to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Pinhole Technique while we are reviewing your treatment options.