Many people shy away from the topic of surgeries and cringe at the thought of needing one themselves. While gum grafts may be used for cosmetic dentistry, simply to improve the proportions of a smile, they may become more of a necessity in some cases to ultimately prevent tooth loss.
What Do Your Gums Really Do For You?
The gums are an important part of our oral health. They surround the teeth, providing a protective seal to prevent the passage of bacteria and food particles into the sensitive root of the tooth. Not only does their soft tissue bind tightly to the bone of the jaw to prevent friction while you chew, it also frames your teeth to help against tooth decay and to shape your beautiful smile. When they recede, you will notice over time that it is not only your smile that is affected. Gum grafts can correct this damage by taking a thin flap of skin from the roof of your mouth and stitching it over the receded area.
Why Do Gums Recede?
There are a few factors that cause gums to recede. Periodontal diseases are the main cause of gum recession; bacteria infect the gum tissue, causing inflammation and destroying both gum and bone tissues. Brushing your teeth too aggressively on a regular basis can wear away the enamel on your teeth, exposing the sensitive dentin, the layer below the enamel, and causing the gums to recede. On the opposite side of the spectrum, paying too little attention to the care of your teeth can have the same effect. Failing to floss, brushing inadequately, and not flushing the crevices of your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash can allow for a buildup of tartar, hardened plaque, which will cause gum recession. Mistreatment of the gums in other forms such as the use of tobacco, grinding the teeth, or piercing certain parts of the mouth that face friction can also wear away at the gums. Lastly, there are some factors beyond your control that may cause gum recession; genetics and hormone changes can make some people more sensitive and more susceptible to periodontal disease and gum recession, regardless of how strict their dental care regimen may be.
What's The Worst That Can Happen?
Gum recession is not just a cosmetic issue. When gum tissue pulls away from the tooth it exposes more of the tooth's sensitive root, allowing bacteria and inflammatory diseases to damage the supporting bone structures. If no corrective action is taken, recession can result in tooth loss.
Gum grafts may be necessary, whether your concern is about the effect of gum recession on your smile or of the damage that can occur if the recession is allowed to go unhindered. Contact our office and ask if gum grafts may be your next step toward a healthy smile.