Gum Recession

We all want a healthy, beautiful smile that we can show off when meeting or greeting others. Unfortunately, gum recession can cause your teeth to look longer than they should and may put a damper on your self-esteem. Gum recession can also be damaging to the affected teeth. Teeth that have receded gums are more prone to severe sensitivity as well as tooth decay. Understanding how gum recession starts and the treatments available can help to enhance and protect your smile.

What is Gum Recession?

Gum recession occurs when the soft tissue around the tooth is worn away. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but most causes of gum recession are completely preventable. Once the gum recession has started, it can only be reversed with professional dental treatment. Receding gums essentially cause your teeth to look longer than normal. The reason this happens is that the soft tissue is pulling down from the tooth, exposing the roots underneath. Most people who have gum recession complain of severe sensitivity to hot and cold liquids as well as the teeth being more susceptible to tooth decay. Over time, severe gum recession can result in the loss of the affected tooth.

Why Do Gums Recede?

Most causes of gum recession are preventable. By changing your dental hygiene habits and stopping harmful behaviors, you can completely prevent your gums from beginning to recede. Once your gums have receded, the only way to fix the issue is with professional dental intervention. Some of the reasons for gum recession include:

• Clenching and Grinding your teeth (most people clench and grind at night and don’t even know they are doing it).

• Brushing Too Hard – When you brush your teeth too aggressively, you will eventually wear down the soft tissue around the teeth.

• Using a Hard-Bristle Toothbrush – You should always use a soft-bristle toothbrush, as a hard-bristle brush is simply too rough on your vulnerable gums.

Gum Disease – As gum disease progresses, the infection affects both the soft tissue and bone around the teeth.

• Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco – Both smoking and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco) prevent adequate blood flow to the gums, causing them to recede.

• Family History – The size, shape, and thickness of your gum tissue may contribute to them receding.

• Diabetes – Small blood vessels are affected, preventing enough blood flow from reaching the soft tissue in your mouth.

What Treatments are Available for Gum Recession?

Unfortunately, once your gums have receded, there is no way to restore them without the help of professional dental intervention. Thankfully, there are many different options available to help cover the exposed roots and restore the soft tissue in areas where it is lacking. These procedures are minimally invasive and can help in both protecting vulnerable teeth as well as providing you with a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

The most commonly performed treatment for gum recession is a soft tissue graft. This procedure involves using a small piece of your own tissue, typically taken from your palate, and placing it over the exposed roots. Over time, the tissue blends and bonds to the existing gum tissue in this area, effectively covering the roots and protecting them from damage. Alternatively, synthetic tissue can be used for soft tissue grafting to prevent needing tissue from other areas of the mouth.

Another viable treatment option and one that is far less invasive is known as the pinhole surgical technique. This procedure involves the dentist making a small pinhole through the gums and then loosening and stretching the gum tissue over the exposed area. This particular procedure does not require incisions or sutures, so it is a more suitable option for those who do not want to undergo soft tissue grafting surgery.

Other less common treatment options include bonding over the exposed roots to protect them as well as acrylic gum veneers. Most mild cases of gum recession require no treatment, but it is important to take steps to prevent the recession from getting worse. If left untreated, severe recession can cause a loss of dentition, sensitivity, pain and tooth decay.

You can also wear a night guard when going to sleep to help prevent Clenching and Grinding of your teeth.

How Can Gum Recession Be Prevented?

Gum recession can be prevented by being diligent and gentle with your oral hygiene habits. If you currently use a hard-bristle brush, consider switching to a softer-bristle one. Your teeth will still be just as clean, but you’ll be doing less wear and tear to the gum tissue. If you brush too aggressively, consider switching to power or electric toothbrush that does the work for you in a far more gentle manner. If you have gum disease, keep up with periodontal treatments like routine scaling and root planings as well as using medicated perio trays and at-home care. If you smoke or chew tobacco, now is a good time to quit and get back to maintaining your overall health.

For men and women living in Franklin Square, NY, having a healthy, beautiful smile is important. Protecting your teeth is crucial in maintaining a full smile. For this reason, it is important to keep up with routine dental appointments and for you to take steps to prevent and treat gum recession. With the many treatment options available concerning gum recession, it is easier than ever before to cover and protect exposed roots.

Posted in: Periodontics

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