Gum recession is a common problem in adults. Besides the fact that gum recession makes your teeth look abnormally long, it can also negatively impact your oral health. Chances are, you are reading this blog post because you have receding gums, or know someone who does. We’ll discuss what causes gum recession in the first place, and offer some treatment options in this article.
What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is a condition in which the gums around the teeth pull down or away from the teeth. This exposes more of your tooth, specifically the tooth root. It’s not just an esthetic problem either- gum recession can cause tooth decay and periodontal pockets to form.
Gum recession increases the risk of tooth decay because tooth roots have less enamel than the part of your tooth above the gum line. Since the tooth roots are normally covered by gum tissue, this is normally not a problem. However, when the roots are exposed, it is easier for bacteria to eat away at the surface of the tooth roots, causing cavities.
Healthy gums fit tightly around the tooth, whereas gums affected by gum recession are loosely fitted around the base of the teeth. As a result, spaces form between the teeth and gums called periodontal pockets. These gaps are prime real estate for bacteria to grow, which can cause gum disease, tooth decay, or both! Not to mention the fact that it makes gum recession worse.
What Causes Gum Recession?
There are a few different things that can contribute to gum recession:
- Poor oral hygiene habits: Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can lead to the build-up of plaque and bacteria on your teeth. This can lead to gum disease, which causes the gums to pull away from the teeth.
- Aggressive tooth brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard bristled toothbrush can also cause gum recession. You should brush your teeth gently in a circular motion.
- Periodontal disease: Periodontal disease is a serious infection of the gums that can cause gum recession, tooth loss, and even bone loss.
- Genetics: Some people are simply more prone to gum recession than others due to their genes.
- Hormonal changes: Changes in hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can cause the gums to recede.
- Prolonged use of tobacco products: Smoking, chewing tobacco, and other types of smokeless tobacco increase your risk for gum recession.
How is Gum Recession Treated?
Gum recession treatment varies depending on how severe it is. For mild cases, simply brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can help to stop the recession. If you have moderate or severe gum recession, however, you may need to see a dentist for treatment.
Some common treatments for gum recession include:
Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing:
This is a deep cleaning treatment that involves two parts: scaling and root planing. Scaling is a technique used to remove the build-up of plaque and bacteria from the surface of the teeth and the tooth roots. Root planing is a process that smooths the root surfaces, which makes it harder for plaque to adhere in the future.
In this procedure, the dentist takes a piece of healthy gum tissue from another part of your mouth and transplants it to the area where you have gum recession. The surrounding tissue will then cover over the roots, stopping further damage from occurring. In addition to stopping gum recession, gum grafts also prevent both tooth decay and bone loss.
In order to prevent gum recession from progressing, it is important to practice good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush, flossing regularly, and avoiding smoking and sugary foods and drinks.
Regular Dental Exams:
When you have gum recession, it is important to stay caught up with your dental appointments and cleanings to prevent it from becoming worse. It is recommended to see your dentist for a professional cleaning and check-up at least twice a year.
Gum recession is a serious problem that can be caused by a number of factors. The best way to prevent this condition from worsening is by practicing good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and flossing regularly. If you are diagnosed with mild or moderate gum recession, your dentist may also recommend a specialized cleaning. However, if the gums are severely recessed a gum graft may be the most effective treatment option because it will stop further damage. Finally, it is important to see your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.