Receding gums can be the result of several things such as periodontal disease, aggressive tooth brushing, teeth clenching, grinding, genetics, and tobacco use. Healthy gums protect the roots of your teeth. When gum recession occurs, the tissue surrounding the teeth pulls away exposing the root. This is where the phrase “long in the tooth” comes from, and the result is longer looking teeth which may make you look older. Gum recession may also lead to increased risk of root decay, and sensitivity. If left untreated, gum recession can eventually lead to tooth loss since supporting bone is lost as well. Dr. Shack will perform a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of your gum recession, and then present you with options to correct it and prevent further recession. She will customize a plan for you, recommending the best home care products for gentle yet effective oral hygiene. Excellent home care plus keeping up with your dental cleanings and exams are the best way to prevent future gum problems.
Dr. Shack offers several options for treating gum recession, including traditional forms of gum grafting as well as the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique. These procedures restore lost gum tissue which is vital for your oral health and a youthful smile. Dr. Shack will consult with you to determine the most effective type of gum grafting for your particular needs. Dr. Shack uses the Fotona Lightwalker Laser at the end of a gum recession procedure to help with healing.
Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique for Receding Gums
Dr. Shack is one of a small number of periodontists trained and certified to perform the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique® (PST). PST is a minimally invasive procedure to treat gum recession requiring no incisions and no suturing, with little to no discomfort. The Pinhole Surgical Technique is effective in treating single or multiple receded teeth in one visit. Patients are able to resume most normal activities within a day.
Even when teeth are white and symmetrical, a smile’s appearance can be diminished by a gum line that falls too far below the lips. This is often referred to as a “gummy smile.” Dr. Shack can treat gummy smiles with a gum recontouring procedure, using a laser to gently remove excess gum tissue and create a uniform, attractive gum line. In many cases, there is no down time and patients can resume most normal activities the same day.
Laser Removal of Gum Pigmentation
Sometimes, pigmentation in the gums results in dark patches that make some people self-conscious about their smile. Pigmented gums can occur for several reasons. Melanin, a dark brown to black pigment, is a very common cause, especially in people with darker complexions. With the Fotona Lightwalker laser, Dr. Shack offers an effective and safe treatment for altering melanin pigmentation in the gingival (gum) tissue, producing the desired look of uniform, pink gums. This procedure can sometimes be accomplished using only a topical gel instead of local anesthetic injection, and you may resume most normal activities immediately.
Over time, tooth enamel can change color or become stained. Tooth-whitening options range from gentle surface whiteners to stronger ones that can also remove deeper stains. Dr. Shack offers patients in-home teeth whitening treatments to use over the course of 2 weeks, as well as an in-office laser bleaching treatment, which is very effective and can be completed in about one hour. Both treatments are unlikely to result in the tooth sensitivity associated with earlier bleaching options.