Minimally Invasive Gum Treatment

Smile again with confidence

Welcome to Monterey Dental Specialties

Leading the way in gum recession treatments

Are your teeth sensitive to hot and cold drinks?
Are you embarrased by the appearance of your gum line when you smile?

Gum recession is the process in which the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth, or the tooth's root. When gum recession occurs, pockets or gaps, form between the teeth and gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up.

Some causes of gum recession include:

  • Periodontal Disease
  • Genetics
  • Tooth Brushing Routine
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Tobacco Use
  • Griding or Clenching of Teeth
  • Crooked Teeth or Bite Misalignment
  • Body Piercing

Common symptoms of gum recession

  • Smaller gum line
  • Changes in tooth appearance
  • Tooth root exposure, sensitive teeth, and gum pain
  • Increased susceptibility to root surface decay
  • Bone and tooth loss

Understanding Gum Recession

Gum recession develops when the soft tissue surrounding the teeth becomes irritated, diseased, or damaged and begins to recede down the length of the tooth. It also means the roots are losing their natural protection and with less gum tissue, teeth can appear crooked, misshaped, larger, or misaligned. Teeth may hurt or feel increasingly sensitive due to exposed root surfaces. Notches and blemishes along the gum line are also common indicators of recession.

Gum Disease - Gum disease is common and recession is one of the telltale signs that it is present. Without treatment, the condition worsens and can lead to more serious problems, including tooth loss and other health issues.

Preventing and Treating Gum Recession

There are a variety of ways gum recession can be reversed as well as many ways to prevent the need for receding gums surgery.

What You can Do to Prevent Gum Recession

  • Practive good oral hygiene everyday
  • Address gum disease and other issues early
  • Fix damaged teeth as soon as possible
  • Treat bruxism and jaw clenching
  • Rethink oral piercings - they can damage gum tissue
  • Do not smoke or chew tobacco

Why is it Important to Treat Gum Recession?

Eliminate tooth sensitivity
Improve appearance
Prevent further recession
Protect teeth against root decay and damage

When Gum Recession Surgery is Necessary

Patients who have receding gums often have gum disease, or periodontal disease, which causes gum tissue to move further down the roots of the teeth. Root exposure can be painful and lead to increasing problems, such as root surface decay and damage, and even loss of teeth if it is not treated professionally. Receding gums not only reduces the natural protection teeth need but also affects the way they look, sometimes causing them to appear uneven and larger than normal. If gum disease is present, treatment is necessary before gum recession surgery.

The Right Treatment for Your Gum Recession

Gum recession happens for a variety of reasons and treatment options are just as variable. Gum disease, genetics, injury, dental treatments, lifestyle, hormones, and other factors all play a role in why some patients develop gum recession. We can determine what is causing your gum recession and provide the right treatment plan to address it. Here are some of the treatments offered for patients with gum recession.

Gum Grafting

A gum graft is a surgical periodontal procedure that covers an exposed tooth root surface with grafted oral tissue.

Exposed tooth roots are usually the result of gingival recession due to periodontal disease. Other common causes can include aggressive brushing and trauma.

Common types of gum grafting include:

Free gingival graft – This procedure involves a small layer of tissue being removed from the patients mouth and then relocated to the site of gum recession. It is sutured into place and will serve to protect the exposed root as living tissue.

Subepithelial connective tissue graft – Tissue is removed from the outer layer of the palate and relocated to the site of gum recession. This is one of the more common procedures to cover exposed roots.

Acellular dermal matrix allograft – This treatment involves using either an alternative soft tissue graft such as Fibro-Gide or donated human tissue. The advantage of this treatment is there is no need to remove tissue from the patients’ palate, which results in less pain.

Reasons for gum grafting

Gum grafting is a common periodontal procedure. Though the name might sound frightening, the procedure is commonly performed with excellent results.

Major benefits associated with gum grafting:

Reduced sensitivity – When the tooth root becomes exposed, eating or drinking hot or cold foods can cause extreme sensitivity to the teeth. Gum grafting surgery permanently covers the exposed root, helps reduce discomfort, and restores the good health of the gums.

Improved appearance – Periodontal disease is characterized by gum recession and inflammation. Gum recession and root exposure can make the teeth look longer than normal and the smile to appear “toothy.” Gum grafting can make the teeth look shorter, more symmetrical and generally more pleasing to look at. In addition, adjacent tissue can be enhanced and augmented during the procedure for aesthetic purposes.

Improved gum health – Periodontal disease can progress and destroy gum tissue very rapidly. If left untreated, a large amount of gum tissue can be lost in a short period of time. Gum grafting can help halt tissue and bone loss; preventing further problems and protecting exposed roots from further decay.

What does gum grafting treatment involve?

Once the need for gum grafting surgery has been determined, there are several treatments the periodontist will want to perform before gum grafting takes place. First, the teeth must be thoroughly cleaned supra and subgingivally to remove calculus (tartar) and bacteria. The periodontist can also provide literature, advice and educational tools to increase the effectiveness of homecare and help reduce the susceptibility of periodontal disease in the future.

The gum grafting procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic. The exact procedure will depend much on whether tissue is coming from the patient’s palate or a tissue bank.

Initially, small incisions will be made at the recipient site to create a small pocket to accommodate the graft. Then a split thickness incision is made, and the connective tissue graft is inserted into the space between the two sections of tissue. The graft is usually slightly larger than the recession area, so some excess will be apparent.

Sutures are often placed to further stabilize the graft and to prevent any shifting from the designated site. Surgical material is used to protect the surgical area during the first week of healing. Uniformity and healing of the gums will be achieved in approximately six weeks.

Tunnel Technique

Gum recession is a condition that is caused by different means and therefore can be treated with different dental treatments. The Tunnel Technique, if a candidate, is a favored treatment because it is a minimally invasive method.

Why Patients Should Consider the Tunnel Technique

The advantage of the Tunnel Technique is that there is a low level of pain and a high success rate with low complications compared to other gum grafting methods.

Not every patient is a candidate for any specific gum recession surgery and that is why having a consultation is the first step. As a result, there is more than one approach to treating a receding gum line.

The tunneling technique is also an incision-free operation. Our dentist starts by cleaning the exposed root surfaces that have appeared due to gum recession with a doxycycline solution in order to detoxify the surface of the root and prevent the spread of infections. Next the dentist will tunnel underneath the gums with a special tool to create space between tooth and gum. This is done so that the skin graft can be inserted more easily into the gums, and less invasively. Once the skin graft is inserted, the gum tissue is raised to cover the exposed roots and held in place with a suture. Only a single suture is used regardless of how many teeth have been grafted in the same area of the mouth, which is good news for patients who aren't big fans of stitches. Once healed, the previously receded gums will look the same as the neighboring gum tissue that was not grafted during the operation.

Vista Technique

The Vista Technique was one of the pioneering, minimally invasive ways through which gum recession could be treated. This method is popular because only a small incision is required during the surgical procedure to repair the gum recession. Your receded gums are lifted and restored to the correct positions before connective tissue is placed inside the gap between the gum and the teeth. This connective tissue is often obtained from your palate. Minimal healing time is required since hardly any suturing was done to close the small incision made.

Benefits to the Vista Technique

Although gum grafting has been the traditional treatment for gum recession, there are many benefits for the Vista Technique if you are a candidate.

  • Immediate functional and aesthetic restoration of your gums
  • Correction of multiple teeth in one appointment
  • Minimal pain during and after the procedure
  • Minimal sutures are used
  • Healing within a few days of surgery

Meet Dr. Adams

Dr. Adams is a California native, born and raised in Los Angeles. After high school he attended University of Southern California and graduated with high honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.

Upon completion of his undergraduate studies he attended Loma Linda University, where he received his dental degree.

Dr. Adams relocated to Monterey in 2004 and is an active member of the community and an active member of Rotary Club.

With his knowledge, skill, and experience, Dr. Adams is committed to giving you personalized solutions and a comprehensive plan that will put a smile on your face.