What is gum recession?
Gum recession, also known as gingival recession, refers to the wearing away of gum tissue, which reveals more of the tooth. If left untreated, the tooth’s roots may also be exposed. Regardless of the cause, receding gums compromise your health by creating pockets between your teeth and gums, allowing bacteria to build up. As the bacteria settle in, toxins are released that cause further damage to the gingiva and eventually the supporting bone as well – a condition known as periodontal disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Recession
Some people will experience sudden tooth sensitivity or notice that a tooth looks longer than usual. However, because gum recession occurs gradually over time, most people don’t realize that it is happening until it is identified by a doctor. Early intervention is the key to effectively treating gum disease, so if you notice any changes in your mouth, it is important to be evaluated as soon as possible.
Causes of Gum Recession
Periodontal Disease: Bacteria build up leads to the decay of gum tissue over time.
Gum Recession (without Gum Disease): While almost always closely linked to gum disease, there are other explanations for receding gums:
- Aggressive Brushing: Overly forceful brushing damages gums.
- Hormones: Women may have an increase in gum recession during times of hormonal change such as pregnancy and menopause.
- Genetics: Studies have suggested that 30% of people are simply more prone to gum recession and disease than others.
- Tobacco Use: Tobacco increases the amount of plaque that sticks to your teeth which damages gums.
- Poor Hygiene: Skipping dental cleanings and neglecting to floss will exacerbate gum recession.
- Grinding and Clenching: These behaviors put unnecessary strain on teeth and gums, as does a misaligned bite.
Treatment for Gum Recession
Scaling and Root Planing for Mild Cases
For very mild cases of gum recession, we can often treat the problem with a deep cleaning. During this procedure, known as “scaling and root planing”, we carefully remove plaque and tartar build-up under the gums and smooth the root area of the tooth to discourage bacteria from attaching.
Regeneration for Bone Loss
If bone loss has occurred, we may apply a regenerative material under the gums to encourage your body to regenerate natural bone and soft tissue in that area.
Pocket Depth Reduction to Eliminate Bacterial Hideouts
Exposed pockets are cleaned by folding back the affected gum and then re-fastening it after sterilization.
Soft Tissue Grafting to Increase Gum Tissue
Also known as “gum grafting,” tissue is taken from elsewhere in the mouth and secured to the diseased area. This acts to protect the supporting bone and teeth from further damage, and encourages the body to generate more gum tissue on its own.
Avoiding Gum Recession
As with many diseases, prevention is the best medicine. When it comes to the health of your gums, regular use of a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss is important, as are regular dental cleanings.
Maintain a healthy diet, avoid tobacco, and give us a call if you notice a change in your gums.