In a healthy mouth, teeth are surrounded by gingival and mucosal tissue. Gingival tissue is coral pink, thick, and dense under a microscope. This form of tissue forms a tight seal around the teeth serving as a barrier against the penetration of bacteria to the underlying bone and helps to withstand trauma from eating and brushing. The mucosa, in contrast, is found directly below the gingiva and is red, very thin, and appears loose under a microscope. It does not seal tightly around the tooth, nor does it withstand trauma very well.
Some dental recession cases can be managed by changing home care routines and increased visits to our dental hygiene team, but when recession reaches the mucosa, patients are at an increased risk for more complex problems. The gingival tissue, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration, is lost. At this stage, no matter how meticulously the patient tries to control the bacteria, there is an increased chance of bacteria penetrating and affecting the underlying supporting bone around the tooth.
In the case pictured above, the patient was experiencing root sensitivity to hot and cold foods. There was an increased risk and predisposition for worsening recession. Also, the root surface, which is much softer than enamel, was exposed there was an increased risk for root caries (cavities & decay) and root gouging.
The treatment plan for this case was discussed at length and the decision to perform a connective tissue graft procedure was advised to repair the defect and help to prevent additional recession and bone loss. As you can see from the before and after photographs, there was a significant improvement in the prognosis and condition of this particular tooth. Once healed, the patient was no longer experiencing sensitivity in the area.
If you have root sensitivity or have noticed that one or more of your teeth has root exposure and redness, give the office a call and we would be happy to examine the area for recession or other issues.