If the gum is healthy, it is about 9 millimetres thick and securely bound to the underlying bone. It forms a firm collar around the teeth and tooth necks and protects them from everyday influences. Healthy gum also offers protection against gum inflammation which may develop as a result of injuries or the accumulation of food in the gum pockets. What may happen is that the gum, usually so firm, recedes over time – independently of inflammatory processes like those involved in periodontitis. The problem is as follows: The sensitive tooth necks and part of the root surface areas are exposed by receding gums (gum recession). So they are no longer adequately protected. Recession coverage is required here.
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Frequently asked questions about recession coverage
Inflammation-free gum recession: These are the causes
Most patients associate the term “gum recession” with a symptom of periodontitis. But it is also possible for the gum to recede without inflammatory causes e.g.:
- Tooth cleaning trauma caused by faulty tooth cleaning technique
Too much pressure, persistent and transverse cleaning movements etc.
- Misaligned teeth or orthodontic treatment
In these cases, the gum is generally already very thin and susceptible to recession.
Acute injuries to the gum
- Teeth grinding
Unconscious teeth grinding can also lead to gum recession.
- The attachment of labial or buccal frena
If the pull is too strong for the gum tissue here, long-term damage can be caused.
Impairment of the “red aesthetic”
If recession is advanced, the teeth may look longer than those surrounded by healthy gum. What is known as the “red aesthetic” – the harmony of the gum profile – is permanently disrupted here.
Increased pain sensitivity of the exposed tooth necks
With severe recession, the teeth lose their protection. The exposed tooth necks can cause pain in response to certain stimuli (e.g. cold, heat, draughts of air).
Increased risk of root caries
The dentin in the root area is exposed because of the recession. This is more vulnerable to caries. As a result of gum recession, the risk of root caries also increases.
Loss of the entire gum
When recession progresses untreated for a long period, it is possible that the entire attached gum may be lost. In this case, the exposed tooth necks are bordered only by the mobile mucosa. Satisfactory oral hygiene is almost impossible in this situation.
Non-surgical treatment of gum recession
If the recession is not too far advanced, the chances are good that it can be stopped by consistent, targeted treatment without a surgical procedure (e.g. special sealing, training in gentle tooth cleaning technique). But please note: Lost gum cannot be restored by these measures.
Surgical recession coverage
If the non-surgical measures do not help and the gum recession progresses, surgical procedures can be considered. These are advisable from the aesthetic and, most importantly, the functional perspective. We have different treatment procedures at our disposal which can be used depending on the findings.
Recession coverage by the coronally advanced flap technique is one option, which involves moving a piece of healthy gum from the adjacent area of the jaw to cover the exposed root surface areas in a minimally invasive procedure. It is sutured with fine needles and can heal safely.
A further procedure is recession coverage with free soft-tissue graft. This involves either soft-tissue autograft (e.g., from the hard palate) or an artificial graft. The graft is used to cover the place affected by recession. This technique can be combined with the advanced flap technique.
In addition, we offer recession coverage by transplantation using the tunnelling technique. This modern surgical procedure can be used for highly tissue-sparing connective tissue grafting to the recipient area. The latter is dissected with a microscalpel to receive the graft in such a way that a tunnel is formed in the sufficiently thick gum tissue. A graft is subsequently taken from the palate, inserted into the tunnelling and sutured.
Recession coverage can also be created by cutting or moving frena with a high frenum attachment. Gum recession can also be caused by irradiating frena of the oral cavity which exert too strong a pull. We can help by severing or moving these frena so that they no longer exert too high a pull from the lips and cheek on the gum.