6 Helpful Methods To Treat Receding Gums
Gum recession is the process in which the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth begins to pull back, exposing the tooth and eventually the tooth’s root. During this process, gaps form within the teeth and gum line where harmful bacteria can gather and put patients at risk for gum disease.
Gum recession can occur for a number of reasons, and some cases can be more severe than others. For some patients, the exposed gum can cause pain or sensitivity and make eating or drinking certain things uncomfortable. Unfortunately, gum recession typically occurs gradually, so it can often go unnoticed for some time. If left untreated, gum recession will lead to tooth decay and may eventually result in the loss of the tooth.
Why Your Gums May Be Receding
There is no one reason why gum recession occurs. In some cases, it is just bad habits like smoking or overly aggressive brushing and flossing. In others, it can be caused by genetics, abnormal teeth positioning, or even teeth grinding. A number of gum reconstruction treatments are available at Acosta Dental Arts, but in order for gum recession to be properly treated, Dr. Acosta must first identify the cause so the right course of action is taken. Here are some of the most common causes of receding gums:
- Periodontitis. In many cases, gum recession can be attributed to periodontitis, which is an advanced case of gum disease that can lead to additional health problems such as an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
- Crooked or abnormally positioned teeth. When the teeth are improperly aligned, it can strain the gums, which can cause them to recede.
- Grinding or clenching. Bruxism can put unnecessary strain on your teeth and gums, wearing them down.
- Brushing or flossing too hard. Aggressive dental hygiene can literally be wearing away at your gums. Be sure that you are properly brushing your teeth rather than forcefully scrubbing away at them.
- Tobacco use. Whether you are smoking or chewing, tobacco can still negatively affect all aspects of your oral health, including your gums.
- Hormones. Unfortunately, female patients are at a bit of disadvantage here, as the fluctuation in a woman’s hormone levels can cause gum sensitivity and recession.
- Genetics. In some cases, patients are simply predisposed to developing gum disease, which can cause the gums to recede.
- Mouth jewelry. Piercings in the mouth, like tongue or lip rings, may wear away at the tissues over time, causing issues like gum recession.
How to Treat Gum Recession
The treatment process for gum recession will vary depending on the severity, the cause, and the patient’s unique dental structure. If you managed to catch it early, your dentist may recommend a nonsurgical procedure, like a root planning and scaling, also known as a deep dental cleaning. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to help eliminate any lingering bacteria. If the procedure is successful and the patient follows it up with regular and attentive oral hygiene, they will see an improvement in their gums over time.
However, in more severe cases, a surgical procedure will likely be required to treat the recession and replace the gum tissue. This can be done in conjunction with a deep cleaning or as a standalone treatment. There are a number of procedures that can be performed, such as:
- Dental scaling and root planning is, as mentioned, a treatment option for mild cases. During the procedure, built-up plaque and bacteria are removed from above and below the gum line using specialized tools and local anesthetic.
- Tissue graft:
- Connective tissue graft is the most common method used to treat basic root exposure and uses tissue taken from a flap of skin on the roof of your mouth, or the palate. This can also be done using donor tissue harvested from someone other than the patient.
- Pedicle grafts utilize tissue from the gum near the troubled area and essentially lifts it to cover the tooth with receded gums. This procedure can only be performed on patients with adequate gum tissue, however.
- Coronally advanced flap is only used in cases of deep degeneration of the gums. Like the connective-tissue graft, skin is harvested from the palate, however, incisions are made around the target area to form a pocket for the graft tissue and they are attached in such a way that offers better coverage and increases the blood supply to the area.
Preventing Gum Recession and Tissue Loss
While sometimes gum recession can be beyond our control, a great way to help prevent it from occurring is to maintain an impeccable dental health routine, which involves brushing and flossing twice a day, regular bi-annual dental check-ups and teeth cleanings, eating healthy, and avoiding damaging dental habits. To get your Free Cosmetic Smile Assessment with Acosta Dental Arts, please contact our Palm Beach office at 561-622-0301.