Dr Hamed Karimi is a spe­cial­ist in pe­ri­odon­tics, and this month talks about aes­thetic gum treat­ments.

Let's Talk - - CONTENT -

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 graft­ing

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.

Gin­gi­val ve­neers

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. nd­spe­cial­ or call 01603 632525.

Be­fore - den­tal crown length­en­ing

Af­ter - crown length­en­ing.

Be­fore - gum graft­ing.

Af­ter - gum graft­ing.

Be­fore - gin­gi­val ve­neers.

Af­ter - gin­gi­val ve­neers.

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