Do your teeth look longer than normal or feel sensitive to temperatures? You may not notice these symptoms at first, but they are the first signs of receding gums. This common dental issue is when your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth, revealing the delicate roots underneath. Small pockets form to collect plaque and bacteria, which can eventually lead to bone and tooth loss. Thankfully, there are ways to treat this condition and prevent it from happening in the first place. Here’s everything your dentist wants you to know about receding gums and what can be done to treat them.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Unfortunately, a variety of factors can cause gum recession, like:
- Gum disease: This bacterial infection is the most common cause of receding gums. As it destroys the connective tissues that hold your teeth in place, it permanently damages your gums and pushes them back.
- Over-aggressive brushing: If you brush with too much force or a toothbrush with hard bristles, you’ll wear away your enamel and irritate your gums, which will cause them to shrink away.
- Your genes or hormones: Some people are naturally more susceptible or sensitive to gum disease because of their genetic makeup or hormonal changes, which increases their chances of experiencing gum recession.
Can Gum Recession be Treated?
Gum tissue doesn’t regenerate in the same way as other soft tissue in your body. This means that once they’ve receded, they won’t grow back. However, the process can be slowed or halted with several treatments, including:
- Deep cleaning: Also known as scaling and root planning, your dentist or specialist can thoroughly clean out the plaque and bacteria that are hiding between your teeth and just below the gumline. Sometimes an antibiotic will be prescribed to fully eradicate the infection.
- Flap surgery: If a deep clean cannot remove all the bacteria, surgery may be needed. Your dentist can make a small incision in your gums, lift them up, and clear out any plaque that’s attacking your gum tissues from underneath.
- Gum graft or bonding. To protect the exposed roots and restore the appearance of your gums, your dentist may take soft tissue from another part of your mouth and surgically place it around the receding area, which is known as a gum graft. Bonding can also be used to place a protective gum colored resin over the affected area, protecting the exposed roots.
Even though receding gums can’t grow back, there are options available that can prevent any further damage. The best way to protect your smile from gum recession is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Practice great dental hygiene and visit your dentist every six months to keep your gums happy and healthy.
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Nawrocki truly believes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is why he encourages his patients to come in for a regular dental checkup twice a year. This way, he can help you keep your mouth healthy and prevent gum recession before it begins. He also offers a variety of treatments for receding gums as well as gum disease. To learn more, he can be contacted via his website or at (904) 272-1588.