Patient Finds Relief from Severe Gum Recession, Tooth Pain

Mary Lynn Schmidt

Mary Lynn Schmidt was self-conscious about her receding gumline, which was so advanced in one spot that the root of her tooth was exposed.

Even worse was her chronic and severe toothache, the result of an undiagnosed nerve disorder worsened by a botched filling.

Both problems were solved at Rutgers Health University Dental Associates, where  RSDM faculty collaborate to offer the latest treatments and techniques.

Schmidt’s first stop was a visit with Dr. Gary Heir, one of the world’s leading experts in orofacial pain. “He asked me questions about the pain that no doctor had asked before,’’ Schmidt said. “Within five minutes, he knew what was wrong.’’

Heir’s diagnosis was post-traumatic trigeminal neuropathy, which can be caused by needless dental work that results from misdiagnosis. He prescribed an unobtrusive dental appliance outfitted with an analgesic, a treatment he pioneered.

Later, he referred Schmidt to Dr. Ioanna Tsolaki, a board certified periodontist, who fixed her receding gumline with a leading-edge, minimally invasive form of surgery. Gum recession is a common dental problem. If left untreated, it will worsen over time and may ultimately result in tooth loss.

“Periodontal plastic surgery is routinely used to reverse gum recession and prevent future gum tissue loss and bone loss. Mary Lynn’s case was advanced, and the result after treatment was beautiful,” Tsolaki said.

During Schmidt’s periodontal procedure, a small amount of tissue was transferred from the roof of her mouth and then grafted to her gum. The procedure lasted 30 minutes and she recovered in about 10 days.

Today, Schmidt is almost entirely pain-free and can smile without worrying if people notice her tooth. After failed treatments by other providers, she said she’s found the right place. “I’m very pleased with the results and I felt very at ease with my doctors,’’ Schmidt said. “They’re a phenomenal team and the office staff at the practice was so helpful.’’