I have receded gums. Which is better—a gum graft or partial dentures?

Receding gums are a problem that can be caused by a number of different things, including gum disease, genetics, lack of dental care, or even hormones. While this issue is fairly common, there is, unfortunately, no way to make your gums grow back naturally—this is one problem that only a medical intervention can fix.

If you’re considering a gum graft or partial dentures to fix your receded gums, choose carefully. While one of these treatments can resolve your issue, the other actually has a chance at making things worse. Here is a look at how gum grafts or partial dentures can resolve your problems—or make them worse.

Gum Grafts and Receding Gums

Gum grafts are the most common and useful way to treat receding gums. This procedure involves transferring a small piece of tissue from your healthy gums or the roof of your mouth and grafting it onto the area where gum recession is occurring.

While this may sound daunting and painful, the procedure is actually quite simple, and most patients experience only minor, temporary discomfort afterwards. Additionally, the healing time for gum grafts is relatively short as well. In most cases, patients will be back to normal within a week or two.

Partial Dentures and Receding Gums

Partial dentures are a dental device that’s used to replace missing teeth in a patient’s mouth. They are completely removable and help improve not only the look of the teeth but also their function.

When teeth are missing, people have a tendency to compensate by changing the form and pressure of their bite. Over time, this change can cause the remaining teeth to shift position, which may lead to pain or more tooth loss.

Unfortunately, partial dentures, while fixing one dental problem, can lead to others. Specifically, they may cause or accelerate gum recession.

This is caused by the base that must be installed in the mouth for partial dentures to function properly. This base acts as the “root” for the false teeth and is anchored in place by clasping hooks around the surrounding teeth.

The base causes gum problems on two fronts. For one, the hooks themselves can cause irritation and inflammation, which may lead to recession. Additionally, it’s easy for particles of food to collect around the hooks. If left uncleaned, this acts as an energy source for the bacteria that cause gum disease.

For patients that experience gum recession with partial dentures, there are a couple treatment options available. First, they should have the denture hooks readjusted by their dentist to minimize gum irritation. However, if the recession persists, it’s likely that the patient will need gum grafts to treat the issue.

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