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F O R T H E D E N TA L PAT I E N T . . .
Causes and treatment
ou can have a healthy mouth and practice good oral hygiene, and yet experience a condition called gingival (gum) recession. Healthy gingival tissue forms a protective collararound a tooth. When gingival tissue recedes, exposing the tooth’s root, sensitivity may result. Tooth root decay (root caries) may develop because the softer root surface decays more readily than theenamel on the tooth’s crown. There are two types of gingiva in the mouth: attached gingiva—the thick, pink tissue that hugs the teeth and is attached firmly to the underlying bone—and the mucosa, orunattached gingiva, the soft, thin, moveable tissue that makes up the inside of the lips and cheeks. Gingival recession occurs when the edge of the gingival tissue (called the gingival margin) movesaway from the crown of the tooth.
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Figure. Before (A) and after (B) tissue grafts (photographs published with permission of Dr. BernardW. Murray).
CAUSES OF GINGIVAL RECESSION
One of the main causes of gingival recession is an irregular or abnormal tooth position. A tooth may protrude because it was crowded when permanent...