New treatment for retracted gums

A therapy to regenerate the retracted gums would give long-term results and would be an alternative to major dental surgery, a small study revealed.

One option to treat severe periodontal disease is surgery to replace lost tissue around the teeth and roots. Traditionally, that included removing tissue from the patient’s palate and using it as a graft in the retracted gums.

The surgery is effective, but it demands suturing on the palate and causes pain.

In the new study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, a team at Tufts University in Boston analyzed the long-term results of an alternative procedure called guided tissue regeneration (GTR).

The study evaluated a specific technique of GTR developed in Tufts that includes the extraction of blood from the patient to obtain a type of blood cells, platelets, which are rich in proteins called growth factors, which promote tissue repair and healing.

Then, platelets are moistened with a collagen membrane, which is sutured at the root of the retracted gingiva.

Doctors Terrance J. Griffin and Way S. Cheung controlled six patients treated with this technique in a total of 37 teeth.

At six months, the new tissue completely covered the roots of two thirds of the treated teeth. At three years, 57 percent maintained the total covering of the roots. The long-term results are comparable to those of traditional graft surgery, Griffin told Reuters Health.

“The new treatment reduces pain and discomfort, covers the roots excellently and increases patient satisfaction with the results, now we know that it remains stable after three years,” added the expert.

The treatment is not yet available, said Griffin, although he is becoming better known.

The author pointed out that the retraction of the gums, which is the disease for which this therapy was designed, is just a form of periodontal disease. “The good news is that researchers are making tremendous progress in tissue regeneration treatments,” he concluded.