Recession Correction

“Tunneling” technique improves smile, oral health.

For as long as she can remember, Carolyn Landolfo has had problems with her teeth. As a child, she fought a constant battle with decay. During her teenage years, overcrowding became an issue. In time, so did gum recession.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Dr. Carolyn Landolfo

The latter two issues followed Carolyn into adulthood, where the 56-year-old cardiologist eventually began a new battle with decay, largely as a result of her gums receding to a point where they left the roots of her teeth exposed.

“I had what I would describe as disfiguring gum recession because the color of the teeth above the normal gumline was darker than the rest of the teeth and so, in terms of my smile, I was always very self-conscious about the way I looked,” Carolyn reveals.

She was also concerned because the root of a tooth is more susceptible to decay than the crown, which is not covered with enamel. Without enamel the protective dentin can literally be brushed away with normal brushing.

Carolyn was plagued by all of those issues for years. It wasn’t until a friend told her of a new area periodontist – John Thousand IV, DDS, of Dental Specialists of North Florida – that she found a solution to her problem.

Immediate Effect

“The technique I use is called tunneling,” Dr. Thousand says. “It’s a painless grafting procedure in which we tunnel underneath the gums and slide graft material in there that thickens the gums.

“When you pull the gums back down, the roots are no longer exposed, and the effect is immediate. When the patient goes home, they can look in the mirror and see immediately that their gums are back to where they should be.”

That is precisely the effect the procedure had on Carolyn. After being fitted with braces to correct the overcrowding, she now has a smile she’s proud of, one she says she probably would not have had she not met Dr. Thousand.

“My gums look so much better now, and I haven’t had a cavity since I had the gum procedure,” she says. “To me, that was the most important part of my restoration, even bigger than the bite correction and the braces.

“It’s made a huge difference, and it wasn’t until I found Dr. Thousand that I even learned of this procedure. No other dentist I’d been to ever suggested anything like it, so I was very fortunate to have found him.

“He’s an exceptional dentist. He’s very careful and meticulous, and his level of expertise and enthusiasm for wanting the best outcome is really unique. I’ve already referred several friends and associates to him because I think so highly of him.”

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