Periodontal Plastic Surgery

Periodontal plastic surgery procedures are a predictable way to cover unsightly and/or exposed root surfaces and to prevent future gum recession. If you are unhappy with the appearance of short teeth this can be greatly improved by a combination of periodontal procedures by our periodontist and cosmetic procedures by your restorative dentist.


Gingival (gum) Connective Tissue Grafts:


When recession of the gum tissue occurs, the body loses a natural defense against bacterial penetration and trauma. Gum recession often leaves the exposed roots sensitive to temperatures and cold food. In addition, the root(s) is not covered with enamel and is softer than the tooth surface. This makes the roots more susceptible to decay.

When the recession is minimal (1-2mm) some healthy tissue often remains to protect the tooth and underlying structures. In most cases, no treatment other than modifying your home care techniques is needed. When the tissue has receded more than 2mm into the mucosa or the soft tissue lining of the lips and cheeks, the first line of defense is gone. Tissue reconstruction using grafting techniques needs to be considered.


A gingival graft procedure is designed to remedy these problems. A thin piece of tissue is obtained from either the roof of the mouth (autograft) or a donor (allograft) and placed in the area of tissue recession in such a way as to provide for as much root coverage as possible. This procedure will provide a stable band of healthy gum tissue around the tooth.



Crown Lengthening:

When decay occurs or a tooth breaks below the gum line, your dentist may request a crown lengthening procedure before he or she can complete your restoration. A crown lengthening procedure is designed to give your dentist more tooth surface on which to place a restoration or crown by removing a small amount of tissue and bone around the tooth. A periodontist preforms this surgical procedure to allow your dentist the ability to place the crown margin at the gum line, not below, making it easier for you to clean.

When teeth appear short or uneven, often referred to as a “gummy smile”, crown lengthening is a good treatment option. Your teeth may be proper length, however there may be too much tissue covering them. A crown lengthening procedure can be performed to remove gum tissue and bone to expose more of the natural tooth or teeth. This creates better symmetry and balance, thus enhancing your smile.