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John C. Chao, DDS, FAGD

Behavior Science Anxiety Management, Faculty, USC School of Dentistry

(888) 309-7501

Gum Graft/Lift - Multiple Teeth



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Dental Plastic Surgery:
Correct long-tooth syndrome with connective tissue graft

Connective Tissue Graft vs. New Method Invented by Dr. Chao


Have you ever felt that you have become “long in the tooth?” Do you show too much teeth, look too “toothy,” your "teeth seem really long" or that the "roots of your teeth are exposed"? Many times this can be caused from recession of your gums. Gum recession is a fairly common consequence of overly aggressive tooth brushing, grinding your teeth, or periodontal disease. Common side effects are sensitivity to hot or cold liquids.

Over-brushing your teeth can occur with overly vigorous brushing, as you know. However what is not well-known is that gum recession can also occur by using a hard toothbrush, abrasive toothpaste or not being careful with the electric tooth brush. If you already have gum recession, use a softer tooth brush with non-abrasive toothpaste. Before you have the opportunity to consult with a professional, you may use the “roll technique,” which calls for gently rolling the tooth brush from the gum to the teeth. Don’t use the electric tooth brush as if you are brushing with a hand-held tooth brush. You may be double brushing your teeth and gum and thereby cause “electric toothbrush abrasion.” Hold the electric tooth brush gently against the surface you desire to clean. Use the lightest pressure possible on the handle. Don’t move the brush up and down or back and forth. Slowly and gently move the electric toothbrush from place to place. The electric tooth brush is already cleaning your teeth. Putting more pressure on the handle will only produce damage to the roots and the gums. Doubling the “pressure” does not double the fun! Read and follow manufacturer’s instructions. See your dentist or hygienist for clarification, if any questions arise. Heavy grinding of your teeth minutely flexes the necks of your teeth. This flexing (called abfraction), according to some authoritative sources, can lead to the microscopic crystals that form the roots of your teeth to break off little by little. Eventually the gums will recede as the underlying root surface is lost. If you suspect that you clench or grind your teeth, consult your dentist regarding getting a night-guard. This appliance will protect your teeth from being worn down, besides preventing further gum recession.

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test drive veneers
test drive veneers
test drive veneers
test drive veneers
test drive veneers



The condition that most often underlies most gum recession problems is periodontitis, a genetic inflammatory disease condition associated infection caused by certain kinds of oral bacteria (periodontal pathogens). An aberration or glitch in the immune system leads to destruction of the connective tissue (gums and bone) supporting the teeth by one’s own inflammatory process. White blood cells, instead of aiding the immune system to destroy infection-causing bacteria, undergo a process that results in the destruction of bone and gums. This process affects the gum line and causes the gums to recede. When the gums recede, the roots of the teeth are exposed. When the protective surface of the roots, called cementum, is worn away by over-brushing or decay, the teeth will become hypersensitive to cold and touch.

What can be done to restore the gum line to its normal position? First of all, the possible causes of gum recession must be dealt with. Proper brushing habits must be taught and learned. Bite guards should be worn consistently, if clenching and grinding is habitual. Periodontitis must be treated and then controlled by good home care followed by regular dental maintenance visits as prescribed. Secondly, a “root coverage” procedure can be considered. There are a variety of surgical procedures to restore the gum line to its original position. The “gold standard” is the “connective tissue graft.” This method incorporates two separate procedures. First, a thin piece of tissue is removed or “harvested” from the palate. Since this tissue comes from the patient, it is called an “autogenous” graft. The second part of this method requires a surgical procedure that makes a tissue flap. A flap is made by an incision extending from the recession site the adjacent teeth. Then the gums are “elevated” or peeled away from the underlying gum or bone. This filleting effect allows for a “pouch” in the gum into which the graft tissue is placed and stitched or sutured into place.

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test drive veneers
test drive veneers
test drive veneers



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The advantage of this method is that it is “predictably” successful. Literature reviews of this method report various percentages of success, some of which approach 90% or better. The admitted disadvantage of this method is postoperative symptoms, such as bleeding and/or mild-moderate pain from the palatal wound. Cosmetically, the graft tissue may not match the surrounding tissue.

Other methods include using “donated” human collagen tissue or animal collagen tissue as graft materials. The success rates are reported to be generally less than the autogenous connective tissue graft.

Dr. Chao is the inventor of a soon-to-be published “breakthrough” method designed to treat gum recession in a minimally invasive way with minimal postoperative symptoms and without palatal grafting. Trademark and pending patents have been obtained both for the instruments as well as the method. It is expected that this method will be published world-wide in the near future. At this time this ground-breaking method of treating gum recession is only available at Dr. Chao’s office for selected patients. Prospective patients are invited to call our office at 626-308-9104 for important information.

Have you ever thought about enhancing your smile by covering one or more of these roots that make your teeth appear too long?
Many times this condition can be corrected with periodontal plastic surgery or what is more commonly called a soft tissue graft. Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where it may not be present due to excessive gum recession. Dr. Chao can provide you with this and other periodontal plastic surgery procedures in the comfort of our beautiful dental office here in Alhambra.

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Cowards Welcome: All of our services are done with the explicit goal of making your experience as comfortable as possible. You will be amazed at how quickly your anxiety can vanish! We see this happen every day.

Gummy Smile
Dr. Chao can also help you if you have a "gummy smile". This condition makes your teeth appear too short, when they are actually the proper length but they are covered with too much gum tissue. Using a simple in-office procedure, Dr. Chao can quickly correct this problem to provide you with a broader more natural looking smile.

Pinhole™ Gum Reconstructive Surgery is available to patients.

PST™ Gum Reconstructive Surgery is available to patients.