If you feel like your tooth is looking longer than it used to, you may be right! The most common reason that teeth look longer is that your gums have receded, exposing the root surface. Some people will also notice a color change to the tooth from the top part of the tooth (called the crown) and the root surface. The root surface often looks darker.
There are two reasons to treat this condition:
- You don’t like how it looks
- The gum recession threatens the health of your tooth
If you don’t mind how long your tooth looks but just don’t like the darker root color or if you get a cavity on the root, you can do a tooth colored filling to cover the root.
If you don’t like the “long in the tooth” look caused by your receded gums, you could have a gum graft done. If how the tooth looks is your primary concern, you should ask what type of root coverage you can expect after the procedure during your consultation appointment.
In some cases, your gum recession may be so severe that it threatens the gum attachment which is part of the supporting structures helping to retain your teeth. In this case, a gum graft is done to create scar tissue to try to halt the loss and stabilize your tooth.
Before a gum graft can be done, we first must make sure the infected gum is healthy. This may require you to have a “deep cleaning” (called scaling and root planing).
The graft tissue may be taken from a spot in your own mouth (such as the roof of your mouth) or be processed from donated human skin. This tissue may be stitched or glued into place. There is minimal downtime. Discomfort or post-operative pain is possible, particularly if you use your own gum tissue.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. 440-960-1940. She does do white fillings, but does not perform gum grafts. She can refer you to a specialist in the area who performs gum grafts if they are indicated for your situation.