Treatment for Gum Recession
By J. Brent Gorrell on September 15, 2014
If your teeth appear to getting longer or unevenly exposed, there’s a good chance that you are suffering from a receding gum line. At first, gum recession may only be a minor cosmetic concern, but as it continues, teeth become increasingly loose and exposed. Furthermore, if recession is caused by a problem like gum disease, patients also face multiple risks to their dental and general health.
In order to help our Mountain View patients preserve their smiles, we want to help identify the various causes of gum recession and how they may be treated. Through regular dental exams, diligent at-home care, and the appropriate general dentistry treatment, you can keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible.
Causes of Gum Recession
The best way to treat gum recession is pre-emptively: by identifying and eliminating the source of recession, you can preserve your gum line. Although the cause of receding gums may vary among patients, it typically involves one or more of the following factors:
- Gum disease
- Brushing too aggressively
- Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Crowded teeth
- Metal lip or tongue piercings
- Teeth grinding
- Sensitive gums from hormonal changes
Once you and your doctor have discerned the cause of gum recession, you can begin treating or eliminating the appropriate risk factor(s). For instance, if your brushing habits are the main culprit, you should purchase a new toothbrush and learn to brush your teeth in a way that does not erode gum tissue. If you suffer from habitual teeth grinding, or bruxism, your dentist may recommend the use of a night guard to protect your teeth and gums while you sleep. Other factors, such as gum disease, may pose a more serious risk to your health if left unchecked, and should therefore be addressed with more specific restorative treatment.
Treating Gum Disease
Gum disease is the most common reason for gum recession and the most common dental problem among adults in the United States. In its earlier stages, gum disease can result in a receding gum line, bad breath, reddened and sensitive gums, bleeding gums, and tooth sensitivity near the roots. Even if disease does not advance into the bone (known as periodontitis), continued inflammation of the soft tissues will cause gums to perpetually erode and pull away from teeth. It is therefore advantageous to treat any occurrence of gum disease as early as possible. Depending on the severity of infection, any of the following treatment options may be recommended:
- Improved hygiene: Gum disease is often caused by infrequent or unsatisfactory hygiene. For milder cases, an improvement in one’s hygienic routine may be enough to improve gum health. In addition to regular flossing and brushing, patients may need to change dietary habits and begin using a mouth rinse.
- Deep cleaning: When pockets of infection are noticeably present beneath the gum line, the dentist may need to perform a deep cleaning to curb disease. This procedure is similar to a regular hygienic cleaning in that bacteria and plaque are removed, and teeth are polished to discourage the future adhesion of bacteria. However, most of the work is performed under the gums, and topical antibiotics are often administered as well.
- Flap surgery: For deep pockets of infection, the gums may need to be temporarily pulled back in order to be cleaned. Small incisions are made in the gum line prior to a cleaning, and are sutured back in place afterward.
Keep Your Gums Healthy
Gum recession can occur in nearly any patient, even if your teeth and gums appear to be healthy overall. By maintaining the right daily habits and coming in for routine professional cleanings, you can be sure that your mouth is truly as healthy as possible. Moreover, by having your gums examined periodically, any indication of recession can be detected and addressed before the gingival tissues continue to degrade. Contact us to schedule your next exam and cleaning, and preserve your beautiful smile.
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