Dr Hamed Karimi is a specialist in periodontics, and this month talks about aesthetic gum treatments.
Teeth okay but what about gums?
Going for a dental check-up to most of us is about making sure we don’t need a filling and have been brushing well, but what about our gums?
There is a well-known saying ‘getting long in the tooth’, used to describe someone who is advancing in years. The saying actually relates to the process of gum recession, which occurs naturally as we age and is very common. But in some people, it is accelerated by a periodontal (gum) condition, whereby there is underlying bone and supporting tissue loss, treatment for a congenital condition could also have been the cause.
Having too little, too much, or gum irregularities can cause sensitivity, discomfort and often makes people self-conscious about their smiles. The good news is that there are a number of painless aesthetic periodontal treatments available to address these issues.
Gum grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where absent due to excessive gum recession. This can be performed on one tooth or several teeth to even the gum line and reduce sensitivity, further recession, and bone loss. When the exposed roots are covered, it also protects them from further decay and improves the aesthetics, restoring the patient’s smile.
Dental crown lengthening
Often referred to as a ‘gummy smile’ because the teeth appear shorter. The teeth may actually be the proper lengths, but they’re covered with too much gum tissue. Excess gum and bone tissue are reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even the gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile.
Perhaps a tooth is decayed, broken below the gum line, or has insufficient tooth structure for a restoration, such as a crown or bridge. Crown lengthening adjusts the gum and bone level to expose more of the tooth so it can be restored.
The successful treatment of chronic periodontitis will often lead to gingival/gum recession, the extent of the recession is directly related to the extent of the disease and amount of underlying bone loss that has resulted. This form of recession is untreatable by gum surgery, however, an extensive loss of gum tissue can be addressed by a ‘gingival veneer’. This is a thin acrylic or silicon mask that is worn to cover the exposed root surface and mimic the missing gum.
The treatments featured are of our actual patients and just some of those available to improve the appearance and function of your smile. Paying attention to your teeth and your gums in order to ensure that they remain as strong and healthy as they can be is the best possible route.
But if you find yourself in the percentage of people who need treatment to restore or maintain their smile; talk to your own general dentist first, or you can contact us for a consultation about how we can help you. Dr Hamed Karimi is lead clinician, a specialist in periodontics, dental implants and the proprietor of award-winning practice Norfolk Dental Specialists, based in the heart of Norwich. For more information, visit www. ndspecialists.uk or call 01603 632525.
Before - dental crown lengthening
After - crown lengthening.
Before - gum grafting.
After - gum grafting.
Before - gingival veneers.
After - gingival veneers.