What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is the process where the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or recedes, exposing more of the tooth, and eventually the tooth’s root. Gum recession can form spaces or gaps between the gum line and the teeth where bacteria can build up and cause issues. If you have been diagnosed with gum recession, you are not alone. Gum recession is a common problem, but it can be treated. It happens very gradually; you may not realize that you have it? One of the first signs of gum recession is tooth sensitivity as roots and previously protected tooth parts become exposed. When you smile in the mirror you may also notice that your teeth appear longer. You may even notice a small groove or notch where the gum line was originally.
How Is It Treated?
Mild forms are treated with deep cleaning by your dentist. Deep cleaning or tooth scaling is the removal of plaque and tarter under the gum line and exposed teeth are smoothed, making a better surface to resist bacteria from collecting. Antibiotics can be prescribed to finish removing unwanted bacteria in the mouth.
Sometimes because of excessive loss of bone or severe cases of gum recession deep cleaning is no longer viable. In this situation surgery may be required to repair your gums. One such surgery is “Open flap scaling” where the specialist pulls back the affected gums and removes unwanted bacteria then firmly secures the gum tissue back over the teeth. If there is bone loss the doctor preforming the open scaling may add a regenerative membrane or graft to affected areas to stimulate bone growth and tissue in that area.
Dr. Mathews can determine the best type of procedure to use on you based on your individual needs.
How Can Prevent It?
Bacterial gum infections are the leading cause of gum recession. Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent harmful bacteria from becoming a periodontal disease. Some because of genetics, can be more prone or predisposed to gum disease even with good oral hygiene.
Another thing to avoid is brushing too hard. “Aggressive brushing” can wear away enamel and cause your gums to recede as well. A balance is needed as not brushing and flossing enough can also cause tarter build up and again cause gums to recede.
On top of that there are many other things linked to gum recession. Hormonal changes, smoking, teeth grinding, misaligned teeth or jaws, even tongue and lip piercings all can cause gum recession.
Brush and floss your teeth every day and see your dentist at least twice a year. If you have gum recession, your dentist may want to see you more often. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and ask your dentist to show you the proper way to brush your teeth. If a misaligned bite or teeth grinding is the cause of gum recession, talk to your dentist about how to fix the problem. If you smoke, try and quit, not just for your teeth but for your overall health. Eat a well-balanced diet and avoid foods that are known to be bad for your teeth and gums.