What Is A Periodontal Lateral Pedicle Flap Procedure?

Dental Patient Smiling After Getting Gum Recession Treatment

Gum recession may seem like a cosmetic problem but it can lead to serious oral health concerns if left untreated. When your gums pull away from their naturally protective position, they can expose teeth roots and even bone. Over time, this constant exposure can lead to the breakdown of bone and the loss of teeth. This is why it is essential to bring any concerns about gum recession in Bloomfield Hills, MI to a trained periodontist.

A periodontist has the skill and experience to examine your mouth and make recommendations based on your case and history. Thanks to advancements in dentistry, periodontists have many types of gum recession treatments to choose from, including the safe, effective periodontal lateral pedicle flap procedure.


Restoring Gums: The Lateral Pedicle Flap Procedure

The lateral pedicle flap procedure is an in-office treatment that is both fast and convenient. During the procedure, a periodontist will “borrow” some abundant, existing gum tissue from your mouth to cover the site of recession. Since the borrowed tissue is located next to the receding gums, it does not have to be fully removed. Instead, a flap of the tissue is simply cut and rotated to create a new gum line.

What can you expect during a lateral pedicle flap procedure? After the periodontist prepares the site, she will make small incisions along the affected gums and the adjacent gums. A flap from the adjacent gums is sectioned off and moved to cover the unwanted gaps. The periodontist sutures the tissues in place and covers them to promote reattachment and quicker healing. In a week, the covering is removed.

When performed by a periodontist with expertise in treating gum recession in Bloomfield Hills, MI, a lateral pedicle flap procedure carries very few risk factors.

What Are the Advantages to Treating Gum Recession in Bloomfield Hills, MI With a Lateral Pedicle Flap?

A few of the benefits to the lateral pedicle flap procedure include:

  • The periodontist will only work on one site in your mouth rather than needing to move donor tissue from one location to another.
  • You can fix your gum recession permanently and get a younger-looking, healthier smile right away.
  • You can project your tooth root and bone to avoid issues later like a higher risk of gum disease development or tooth loss.


Am I a Candidate for a Lateral Pedicle Flap Procedure?

To be considered for lateral pedicle flap procedure treatment, you must have sufficient gum tissue next to the site of your gum recession. You should also have a limited area of gum recession rather than a widespread one. If your receding gums are extensive or you have other untreated or unmanaged oral conditions, a periodontist may suggest a different way to treat your gum recession.

Want to learn more about the lateral pedicle flap procedure? You can call our office in Bloomfield Hills, MI at (248) 480-4910 to set up an appointment with periodontist Dr. Lauren Anderson.

Dr. Anderson has received many awards throughout her career and focuses her practice on providing patients with individualized care based on their unique needs. She welcomes the opportunity to talk with you about your gum recession and to share the five technologically advanced treatments she offers, including the lateral flap procedure.

The Major Causes of Gum Recession

Dental Patient Smiling After Her Procedure

Gum recession can seem like it happens overnight because many people do not notice it until the signs and symptoms are evident. Gum recession happens gradually, though. It should not be ignored during any of its stages, including when it first starts. Why? A well-trained periodontist can help a patient reverse gum recession!

To recognize gum recession, you should learn what it is, what causes it, and how an advanced periodontist can treat the condition.


What Is Gum Recession and Why Does It Happen?

The gums play an important role in your mouth. They protect the teeth and bone by creating a special barrier. Without gums, your whole tooth, including the root, would be exposed to moisture, bacteria, and air. So would the bone in your jaw, as well as some of your oral nerves.

Gum recession occurs when the gums start to pull back from their protective position. Some of the reasons that cause gum recession include:

Heredity: Genetics sometimes can be a reason for gum recession. If your mother, father, or siblings have or had gum recession, you may be a candidate for it as well. In the field of periodontics, this can be referred to as “thin bone” or “thin gum.”

Improper Oral Care at Home: Aggressive flossing and brushing can wear down the gums.

Orthodontic Issues: Your teeth can move or erupt outside the bony house where they belong, causing soft tissue to settle or stretch where it does not belong.

Gum Disease: Untreated gum disease destroys healthy gum tissue. As the tissue becomes more diseased, the gums begin to recede.


What Does Gum Recession Look and Feel Like?

When you have gum recession, you will usually have several indications that your gums are not in proper placement.

  • Your teeth seem to look longer over time. As the gums recede, the teeth begin to take on length.
  • You have become more sensitive to hot, cold, and even sweets. For example, when you drink hot coffee, your teeth may hurt.
  • Your gums may bleed or swell, particularly after brushing or flossing.
  • You may feel that your smile looks uneven in pictures.

Each of these signs could point to one or a combination of many factors causing your gum recession, including some unique to your situation and history. Getting a diagnosis from a trusted periodontist will help you find out why your gums seem to be pulling back from your teeth.

At our office, Dr. Lauren Anderson will examine your gums visually and with the assistance of 3D scanning equipment. This allows her to recommend solutions such as soft tissue grafting.


Tell Me More About Soft Tissue Graft Processes!

There are a few types of soft tissue grafts that can solve gum recession. When you work with Dr. Anderson, she will suggest the one that is least invasive and best suited for your case. She will discuss the procedure from beginning to end and explain why she feels it will be advantageous for you.

Excellent care of your gums does not end with a gum graft, though. After undergoing gum grafting, dental patients often continue to visit Dr. Anderson, ensuring that both the patient and doctor are happy with the long-term results.


World-Class Gum Recession Treatment in Bloomfield Hills, MI

Dr. Anderson has dedicated her career to learning innovative periodontal procedures to help her patients. She has published numerous academic papers and given lectures in her field. She also has received countless awards including the Michigan Dental Association Young Dentist Award.

Instead of ignoring or “living with” your gum recession, you owe it to your health to get an educated opinion on ways to treat it. Call Anderson Periodontal Wellness at our office in Bloomfield Hills, MI at (248) 480-4910 or fill out an online contact form. You can put an end to your gum recession and open the door to a beautiful new beginning for your smile!

Erosion and Tissue Repair

Meet our patient RC! She contacted our team at Anderson Periodontal Wellness seeking treatment to “cover [her] yellow roots and make [her] gums more even”.  For RC, an acidic diet rich in low pH citric fruits caused erosion of her exposed roots. In efforts to create better symmetry and to cover exposed roots, gingival grafting was completed on #9-11 (three teeth to the right of the midline above) to bring the gingiva (gum) apically (down). After 3 months of soft tissue healing, her general dentist blended the yellow surfaces with flowable fillings. RC is happy to reach a natural look, much like her smile when she was younger! For cases like RC, a multidisciplinary approach is critical to manage the “pink – gum and white – tooth” interface.

Contact Anderson Periodontal Wellness if you would like to learn more about the above.  During your consultation, Dr. Anderson will evaluate your smile and tailor a treatment plan to meet your needs.

Tissue Grafting with a Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Before and after gum recession comparison with gum grafting treatment in Bloomfield Hills, MI

Meet our patient AK. She presented to our office with the chief concern “My teeth are uneven, yellow and too long. I’m also losing my gum. Can you fix this?”

Dr. Anderson completed minimally invasive soft tissue grafting for AK in a single hour and a half appointment under IV conscious sedation. AK returned to her nursing job 2 days later and reported minimal downtime and discomfort. Note the more proportional tooth length and more esthetic gingival (gum) symmetry reached after her tissue was moved down to cover the roots.

Tissue is now thicker, stronger, and more resilient.

Dr. Anderson allowed 3 months for the tissue to mature before the general dentist placed conservative veneers to correct the shape and color of her teeth. AK loves her new healthier and more aesthetic smile!

Please see above for before and after photos for our patient AK!

As a diplomate and board certified periodontist, Dr. Lauren Anderson provides services involving dental implants, periodontics, tooth loss, implantology, crown lengthening, cosmetic dentistry, and plastic surgery in Birmingham, Troy, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Troy, Ferndale, Royal Oak, and surrounding Oakland County, Michigan. To schedule your consult please call (248) 480-4910

Case Presentation: KL Sub-Epithelial Connective Tissue Graft

Meet our patient KL. She is a systemically healthy 50 year old female who presented to our office with the chief concern to “Please cover my roots, they are yellow and make me look older than I am. They are also sensitive to temperature change and my dentist recommended you to re-grow the gum back”.

After verbal interview and clinical examination, Dr. Anderson determined that the etiology or “cause” of her recession was aggressive tooth brushing on thin gingiva or “gums” which are more prone to recession than thick gingiva. To regenerate KL’s soft tissue over the roots, Dr. Anderson used a minimally invasive technique to harvest KL’s tissues from her palate or “top of the mouth” and transferred this tissue to the teeth with roots exposed. This technique, known as a sub-epithelial connective tissue graft, was chosen and tailored for KL’s unique case presentation due to the high predictability, long-term success rate and superior esthetics. KL is happy with her results, enjoys her “more youthful smile” and reports the hot and cold sensitivity has gone away after Dr. Anderson regenerated the soft tissue. KL is now maintaining her results with proper brushing technique and a soft toothbrush.

Please see below for before and after photos of soft grafting of teeth in the upper right (#3-7) with Dr. Anderson.

Connective Tissue Graft Before and After


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What Is Gum Recession?

Gum Recession Before and After Treatment

Above, JR’s before and 1 year after tissue grafting with Dr. Anderson on lower front teeth (central incisors #’s 24 and 25).

Gum or what dentists refer to as “gingiva” is the pink tissue that surrounds your teeth. A thick band of gingiva is needed around all of your teeth for proper oral health. For a variety of reasons (aggressive tooth brushing, problematic anatomy, staggered teeth, bone loss, infection etc.), some patients experience gum shrinkage and become vulnerable to variety of dental issues.  Teeth look longer and gums look shorter. In most cases, periodontists can correct gums back to a stable level in about an hour. Results can be lifelong if taken care of properly.

Meet “JR”

JR is a 19 year old systemically healthy (ASA 1) female who presented to our office with sensitive lower teeth.  She and her dentist found that her lower two front teeth (central incisors 24, 25) were looking longer and experiencing gum recession. Note that the roots (yellow part) are exposed and there is very little pink tissue (gingiva).  In cases like JR, the gum recession will continue to get worse if not treated.  Please see above for before and one year post-op results from gum grafting (free gingival graft) with Dr. Anderson.  Note the increased pink gum (attached gingiva) that is needed for oral health and full coverage of the roots that is needed to reduce sensitivity. JR is now happy that her oral condition is now stabilized, her yellow roots are covered, and her tooth sensitivity is gone!

If you have been referred for or believe you may have gum recession, ask Dr. Anderson if you would be a candidate for the treatment that helped JR reach better oral health.

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