Gum recession is when your gums begin to pull away from your teeth. As a result of this recession, it can leave the roots of your teeth exposed, which can cause oral health problems and sensitivity. While receding gums cannot grow back, you can take steps to prevent gum recession and there are many treatments available in dentistry that can reattach the gums to the teeth.
Causes of Gum Recession
Improper Brushing - It is recommended that you brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush to avoid enamel erosion. Harder bristles are too abrasive and if you apply too much pressure, you can damage your teeth and your gums.
Forcefully brushing the gums can lead to inflammation and over time, recession. Improper or lack of brushing can also lead to plaque buildup and gum disease, which also cause gum recession.
Periodontitis - Periodontitis is a later stage of gum disease. It causes the gums to pull away from your teeth and form gum pockets that harbor bacteria and lead to inflammation. In some cases, periodontitis causes infection and causes the teeth to become loose in the socket or even fall out.
Bruxism - Bruxism is when you grind your teeth at night. Grinding the teeth puts an incredible amount of pressure onto the teeth and the gums which can lead to recession. If your teeth grinding is severe, you can even chip, break, or loosen your teeth.
As a result of teeth grinding, pockets between the teeth and gum can form and be a breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria triggers inflammation and contributes to gum recession.
Smoking - Smoking and tobacco products lead to a buildup of tartar on the gums. Tartar causes gum recession by eating away at the gums. Smoking also decreases saliva which protects your teeth and gums and increases your risk for gum disease.
Soft Tissue Trauma - In some cases, gum recession may be a result of an accident or injury like trauma to the mouth while playing contact sports or taking a hard fall. Certain dental prostheses such as partial dentures which do not fit properly can also cause gum recession.
How to Prevent Gum Recession
Preventing gum recession is all about practicing good oral hygiene and proper brushing habits. Because many of the causes of gum recession are a result of disease, poor oral health, or improper brushing habits, this is the mainline of defense to reduce your risk of gum recession.
You should use a soft-bristle toothbrush and gently brush your teeth. Using harder bristles and a lot of force to brush your teeth is not more effective at cleaning your teeth and will cause damage to your teeth and gums.
Brush for at least two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily to get rid of food particles. When you are unable to brush your teeth in the middle of the day, use an antiseptic mouthwash.
Attend regular dental checkups and cleanings every 6 months to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. If you suffer from teeth grinding, you should wear a mouthguard at night as well as when you play contact sports. If you have ill-fitting dentures, it’s important to have these replaced so they don’t continue to wear away your gum line.
Treatment for Receding Gums
Scaling and Root Planing - The reason good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are so important is to thoroughly remove food particles so it doesn't mix with bacteria in the mouth and turn into plaque and tartar.
Once you have a buildup of plaque and tartar in the mouth, you cannot get rid of it yourself. It needs to be professionally removed with dental tools. Your dentist will thoroughly scrape off plaque and tartar from the tooth roots and then tools will be used to reattach the gums.
Gum Graft Surgery - Gum graft surgery is when soft tissue is surgically removed from another part of the mouth, such as the cheek, and then used as a gum replacement. This is typically reserved for more severe cases of gum recession but it is effective at preventing future recession and bone loss.
Pinhole Surgical Technique - Pinhole gum surgery is a minor oral surgery in which a small access hole is made into the gum tissue to expose the root of the teeth. Once the root is exposed, a special dental device is used to peel back the gum to separate it from the tooth.
The gum is then stretched back over the tooth root and secured into place with collagen strips rather than stitches. This new procedure is minimally invasive, requiring no incisions or sutures and very minimal pain. You will be fully healed with an hour and notice immediate results.
Expert Gum Restoration at Poulos & Somers
Are you suffering from gum recession and exposed roots? Gum recession can increase your risk of tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. At Poulos & Somers, we offer treatments such as gingival grafting and pinhole gum surgery to reattach and restore receding gums as well as cover-up exposed tooth roots.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our wonderful periodontal and implant specialists, Dr. Michael Poulos, Dr. Nicholas Poulos, Dr. Ann Somers, or Dr. Kimberly Marshall.