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Gum grafting to rebuild the gums that protect your teeth and define the appearance of your smile

The phrase “long in the teeth” is often used to describe an older person. It refers to a process that may occur as we age. The gums that frame, protect, and support our teeth may recede over time. As gum recession arises and the soft tissue pulls away, the teeth may look longer. It’s not that the teeth themselves are growing; instead, each tooth is now more exposed. Complications of gum recession are not limited to aesthetics. Fortunately, our dentists, Drs Anna Abel and Chuong Phan of Abel, Phan & Associates in Sterling, Virginia, restore balanced proportions, health, and function with gum graft surgery.

Gum grafting: For the beauty and health of your smile

When healthy, the gums or gingival tissue are snug and firm and wrap around your teeth in a way that best protects and supports and stabilizes them. Gradually, as gummy tissue retracts, the white crown portion of the teeth becomes increasingly noticeable. For this reason, a formerly proportional or symmetrical smile may become “toothy” in appearance.

The health of your teeth and mouth as a whole is threatened, too. The roots may become exposed. No longer covered by the gums, they are now vulnerable to:

  • Increased sensitivity
  • Pain, especially as unprotected roots are brushed or flossed
  • Destructive tooth decay
  • Tooth loss

“Grafting” refers to the process of taking tissue from one area and transferring it to another location that could use the additional structure and support. In this manner, doctors can rebuild both hard tissues (bone) and soft tissues (gums). Several techniques can be used to perform grafting treatments successfully. Tissue from the patient’s palate (or roof of the mouth) may be gently removed and relocated to the recessed area. The graft may also be derived from a donor or tissue bank. The process is generally the same, as the donor tissue or graft is placed at the recipient site through tiny incisions. The incisions are closed, and the graft is stabilized with surgical materials. The idea is to stimulate healing and healthy attachments between the gums and teeth. Recovery usually takes around six weeks.

When evaluating the best technique to boost your smile appearance and promote lasting health and functionality, Drs Abel and Phan will consider factors such as the availability of palate tissue and the severity of gum recession. Call (571) 450-9848 today to schedule a consultation at our practice in Sterling/Potomac Falls.