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Friday, July 1, 2016
The dentist told my friend her gums are getting thin in one area. What does this mean?
The thickness of the gingiva may be so thin that you can see or feel the contours of underlying root surface. This tells us that there is a very thin, if any, bone support underlying the gingiva (gums). These areas are more prone to have breakdowns with inflammation and/even with trauma from tooth brushing. When you develop tissue breakdown, the root surface becomes exposed. This may cause sensitivity, root decays, aesthetic issues, etc.
We generally make a note and watch these areas through maintenance appointments to determine whether there is inflammation, a progression in exposed root surface, or whether the patient can clean the area, etc. If we see that it is getting worse or if the patient is scheduled to have orthodontic treatment, we may recommend doing soft tissue graft surgeries to increase soft tissue support.
Binnaz Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Periodontology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University