Dental implants are quickly becoming a preferred method for replacing missing teeth, with millions of patients opting for this procedure every year.
In almost all cases, if you are healthy enough to undergo routine dental work, you can have implants. But what if your gums are receding? Are you still a candidate for the procedure?
Absolutely you are, but you may require gum grafting first, to prepare your mouth for the implants.
Causes of Receding Gums
Gum recession is a common problem, often going unnoticed because it develops gradually.
When gum tissue begins to wear away, tooth roots can become exposed and sensitive. Bacteria also can build up in the gaps created by the recession.
In most cases, gum disease or periodontitis is the main cause of recession. Other factors can contribute to its development too, however. Some patients may be genetically predisposed to gum disease and receding gums. Hormonal changes can affect recession as well.
And for some people, gums may recede due to aggressive or excessive brushing or a lack of regular dental care.
Gum Grafting to Prepare for Dental Implants
Mild gum recession may be successfully handled with a deep cleaning of the affected area, also referred to as tooth scaling and root planing. Antibiotics or a specialized mouth rinse also may be prescribed to rid the gums of any remaining bacteria.
For gum recession that is more severe, a gum graft may be required.
The gums must be healthy and able to support and protect the implants. Grafting can reinforce the damaged soft tissue and help to improve the implant healing success rate.
Tissue Grafting Procedures for Dental Implants
Gum grafting covers the exposed tooth roots and provides protection against further recession.
The type of grafting procedure performed will depend upon your specific circumstances, but for most people, the soft tissue used for the graft will come from the roof of the mouth (the palate).
Connective tissue grafts are most commonly used for patients who plan to have dental implants. With this method, soft tissue is removed from under a flap cut in the roof of the mouth and then attached to the affected site.
If you have thin gums, however, a free gingival graft may be performed instead. This method uses soft tissue removed directly from the palate. A pedicle graft, in which soft tissue is grafted from the gums, also may be an option if you have enough gum tissue near your missing teeth.
Receding gums are not a barrier to having dental implants. Contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah today to schedule a consultation. With convenient office locations in Toole, South Jordan and Cottonwood Heights, we serve patients throughout northern Utah.
We look forward to helping you with all of your specialized oral care needs, including dental implants.