23 Jun 2023
4 min read
By Dr. Azim Malik
Specialist Periodontist and Implant Surgeon
Gum recession takes place when the tissue surrounding the teeth pulls away and exposes the roots of the teeth.
A few years ago, in the UK at least, we were ignoring gum recession.
The feeling was that if it didn't cause pain or symptoms – and it wasn't progressing – we didn't need to worry about it too much.
But things are changing now.
There are new guidelines in place that suggest perhaps we should be looking more closely at recession.
The reasons for the change are research and consensus – and there's a big American influence on this.
The research has shown that actually we should cover recession.
We treat this by taking a piece of gum from the palate and tucking it underneath the existing gum.
When I finished my training I was told, "you won't be doing much of this" – but I now do lots.
We've been performing this surgery since the 1970s – but it's become more popular in the last 10-15 years.
The basic principles remain exactly the same.
But now we have minimally invasive techniques that can help minimise the trauma.
We have better materials, better techniques and better blades.
For a minority of patients, there is a danger the palate will bleed too much – for example if the patient has a cleft lip and palate or is on a certain type of medication.
In these cases, instead of taking tissue from the patient's palate, we can use tissue from a human donor.
(We can also use tissue derived from a pig but that's unusual because it doesn't work as well.)
If you have recession, you should really consider seeing a specialist to see what treatments there are to cover it and to improve it.
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