What is Gum Recession and How is it Treated?

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Receding economies, tides, hairlines…and gum lines? Gum recession is a very common dental condition that affects people no matter their overall mouth health. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know they have the beginning stages of gum recession until they see a dentist. Gum recession is a very real condition that, if left untreated, can be painful and cause a whole host of problems. If caught early, treatment is simple and can improve your quality of life.

Gum recession is when the gum tissue that surrounds your teeth (either top or bottom) lessens, pulls back or away thus exposing more of the tooth and over time most of the root of the tooth. When this happens, pockets form between the teeth, making it a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. Ignoring this will only be a detriment to your gum health and may eventually cause tooth loss. Learn what causes gum recession, what to look for if you think you have gum recession and how to treat it.

Causes

Periodontal Diseases

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than half of Americans have gum disease. That’s millions of people who are at-risk for developing gum recession. These bacterial gum infections wreck your gum tissue and the supporting bones causing a lot of problems if left untreated. Be sure to check with your dentist if you are experiencing red, swollen, bleeding and tender gums to rule out gum disease.

Aggressive Tooth Brushing

While dentists appreciate someone who is excited about dental hygiene and caring for their teeth, an over-aggressive tooth brusher can be just as bad as someone who doesn’t brush consistently. Aggressive tooth brushing can force gums down and away from the teeth, causing gum recession. Make sure you are using a toothbrush approved by the ADA with a “soft” label on it.” And remember, teeth just need brushing, not intense scrubbing.

Poor Oral Health

If you’re an offender of not visiting the dentist or brushing and flossing as you should, you may be someone at-risk of developing gum recession. Not taking care of your chompers can cause calculus (no, not the math class), or tartar that builds up in between your teeth and can be the culprit of gum recession. Be sure to brush at least twice per day for two minutes each, floss gently between all of your teeth and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to keep your mouth squeaky clean and the picture of health.

Genetics

Unfortunately for some, no matter how healthy you keep your mouth, genetics may be to blame. You may have been born with thin or weak gum tissue that can easily recede. You may have been born with crooked teeth or a misaligned bite that can also contribute to your risk factor. So, no matter how well you take care of your mouth, you may still have gum recession.

Grinding or Clenching Teeth

If you’re a stressed out person by nature, you may grind or clench your teeth. Grinding or clenching can put a great deal of force on your teeth, and even though teeth are pretty strong, this kind of pressure can still cause your gums to recede. Try to be self-aware of grinding or clenching and practice relaxation techniques.

Symptoms

Gum recession has very few symptoms, but sometimes these symptoms go unnoticed. Be sure to inspect your teeth daily, including gums. A possible symptom of gum recession is teeth sensitivity. While sensitive teeth can be the symptoms of a lot of different dental conditions, extra sensitive teeth near the bottom of the tooth is suspect. Examining your teeth, you may see your teeth appear longer or  you may even see discoloration at a certain part of the tooth. Feeling the area, you may feel a ridge or divot in the lower part of the tooth. Gums will likely appear red or irritated. If you are experiencing any of the above, make sure you consult with your dentist and rule out gum recession as the cause.

Treatment

If you catch your symptoms early, the treatment for minor gum recession can be done at your dentist’s office with a simple deep cleaning of the area, also called tooth scaling or root planing. During this procedure, your dentist will clean out any tartar and plaque present in the gum line and make sure the root area is free of all bacteria so that new bacteria will have a more difficult time attaching itself.

If your gum recession is in an advanced stage, surgery may be necessary. Your dentist will refer you to a periodontist where a gum graft may be done in order to regenerate gum growth. Ask your periodontist what you should expect from the procedure.

 

If you think you may have gum recession, make sure you schedule an appointment with West Chester Dental. Our caring, gentle and experienced professionals will make your appointment comfortable and have you leaving with a healthy mouth! Contact us today!