In health, there is thick gum tissue around the neck of each tooth. This thick gum tissue protects the tooth and acts as a barrier to bacteria. This protective gum tissue can be permanently damaged by improper brushing and flossing. When this occurs, the root of the tooth is exposed. This exposed root can be very sensitive to touch and/or temperatures, resulting in pain. The exposed root is also more susceptible to cavities, which could result in the loss of the tooth. Lastly, gum recession and root exposure results in uneven gum lines and "long teeth" , which can compromise the esthetics of your smile. Unfortunately, the bone beneath the gums is also permanently destroyed when the gums recede. Sometimes, the gum and bone can recede to the point where the tooth can be lost.
Periodontal procedures are available to stop further gum recession, cover the exposed root, and improve the esthetics of your gum line and smile. This procedure involves taking tissue from the roof of the mouth and transplanting it to the area of recession. A soft tissue graft, or gum graft, can be done for one tooth or several teeth to cover the exposed roots, even out the gum line, and reduce sensitivity. Once contributing factors are controlled, a soft tissue graft can repair the gum defect and prevent additional recession and bone loss.
Dr. Cushman has a special interest in performing this procedure. She achieves a very high success rate and can predictably cover roots on the front and backs of teeth. The following photos are of patients Dr. Cushman has personally treated at Atlanta West Periodontics and Dental Implants.
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