• Lucy See

How to Help Fix Gum Recession

“My gums are receding and are extremely sensitive to air, tooth brushing and cold water. Is there anything that can be done to help?”


Dr See says: Fantastic question. Receding gums can be painful and unsightly, causing major asymmetry in the smile line. Gums don’t grow back by themselves once they’ve been lost, whether it’s from abrasive tooth brushing or gum disease. Normally the gums cover the root surface of teeth. This root surface is connected to the nerve inside the tooth, that when stimulated with cold or touch, it causes pain. Previously it was advised to use desensitising toothpaste, however this only masks the problem.


We can also attempt to place restorations to cover the root surface of the teeth. This can be problematic as it sets up an interface between the restoration and root surface that bacteria will eventually colonise around causing gum inflammation or recurrent decay, hence resulting in more gum recession and the cycle continues.

However, internationally there have been advancements in growing back gums. This rejuvenation of the gums provides relief from sensitivity and improves the harmony of the gums levels. Gum rejuvenation is a technique where we carefully graft some soft tissue from another area of the mouth and place it on the site of the gum recession. Because it’s not a foreign material, the body incorporates it very quickly and the gum can often return to normal levels.


Let’s look at a case that we completed where there were tooth roots exposed and sensitivity to air and tooth brushing.


Richard was referred to us because of his receding gums and the extreme sensitivity he was experiencing. It got to the point where he wasn’t brushing his teeth in this area and was therefore affecting the health of his teeth and gums. He wanted to fix the problem so he could feel better and keep his teeth healthy for the long term.


THE PROBLEMS:

• Receding gums

• Extreme sensitivity to air, tooth brushing and cold water

• Exposed tooth roots


THE SOLUTION:

• Gum rejuvenation by placing a soft tissue graft onto the site of the recession


After just one week, Richard no longer felt extreme sensations in the area where his gums had receded and was able to comfortably brush his teeth again.

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