Don’t Ignore Receding Gums
If you’re experiencing a gum recession in Rochester, know that you are not alone. According to the California Dental Association, three out of four adults have periodontal disease, including receding gums.1
Though it is common, gum recession is still a severe dental condition that requires treatment. When the gum recedes, the tooth’s root is exposed and may be vulnerable to various problems.
What Is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is when the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth pulls back or begins to creep away from the crown of the tooth, exposing more of the tooth. The gum tissue continues to recede over time, exposing more and more of the tooth root.
Gum recession occurs gradually, so people with mild cases may not even know they have it. The teeth may become more sensitive due to more of the exposed root and get a “long-toothed” appearance as it progresses.
Causes of Receding Gums
Several factors can lead to gum recession, including:
- Periodontal disease is a bacterial gum infection that damages gum tissue and the supporting bone
- Aggressive tooth brushing can injure thin gums and cause them to recede
- Poor dental hygiene, such as inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing
- Orthodontic braces
- Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy and menopause in women
- Tobacco use, such as chewing or smoking
- A misaligned bite that puts force on the gums and bone
- Grinding or clenching teeth, which puts excessive pressure on the teeth
- Body piercings, like the tongue or lip, can irritate the gums and teeth
Gum Recession Treatment
Gum recession can be treated in a number of ways, depending on its cause and severity. Gums that have receded don’t grow back or return to their normal position without surgical intervention, but you can mitigate its effects and stop the progression.
If gum recession is caused by bad habits, such as aggressive brushing or tobacco use, correcting the habits can stop gums from receding further. You should also correct issues that contribute to gum recession, such as a misaligned bite or teeth grinding and clenching.
If the gum recession is caused by gum disease, it can be treated with a deep cleaning, also known as tooth scaling or root planing. This removes the plaque and tartar that have built up on the tooth and below the gumline. Patients may also be given antibiotics to clear up any infection in the mouth.
If the gum recession is severe, gum surgery may be necessary to restore the gums to their original position. A soft-tissue graft includes several types of grafting procedures, such as a connective tissue graft or free gingival graft.
The connective tissue graft involves taking the connective tissue from the roof of the mouth and stitching it to the gum tissue around the exposed root. The free gingival graft involves taking gum tissue from the roof of your mouth, including the outer layer, and grafting it to the recession site.
How to Prevent Gum Recession
Though there are procedures to mitigate the effects of gum recession, it has no cure. The best option is to prevent gum recession by practicing good oral hygiene.2 Here are some best practices:
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
- Visit a dentist or periodontist at least twice a year, or as recommended
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid aggressive brushing
- Correct a misaligned bite
- Eat a healthy diet
- Quit smoking or using other tobacco products
- Get prompt treatment for periodontal disease and gum recession
- Use a professionally made nightguard to prevent clenching
Treatment for Gum Recession in Rochester
Gum recession is a serious condition that can lead to problems like infection, pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss. The longer it goes without treatment, the worse it gets, and the more involved the treatment will be to mitigate its effects. If you’re struggling with gum recession or periodontal disease, Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester can help. Call us at 585.685.2005 or contact us online to schedule your consultation!