If you have ever looked in the mirror and noticed your teeth seem a little longer than they used to, you might have receding gums. Gum recession happens when your gums gradually shrink back, exposing more of your tooth or tooth root. Receding gums is an incredibly common dental problem, with roughly half of the United States population having gum recession. However, you should not avoid it just because it seems so typical. When left untreated, gum recession can cause all sorts of problems. Check out our guide to gum recession, and then reach out to us at Lovett Dental Northside to learn what you can do about receding gums.
Common Causes of Gum Recession
There are all sorts of common reasons that people get receding gums. The leading cause of gum recession is periodontal disease. This happens when bacteria-filled plaque and tartar build-up and destroy the gums gradually over time. You can prevent this with proper brushing and flossing techniques. Overbrushing teeth, especially with a stiff brush, can wear away gums as well.
There is also a genetic factor to receding gums, with some people being more likely to deal with gum recession even if they follow oral hygiene recommendations. Just about anything that causes damage to the mouth can cause gum recession if it happens for a long enough period of time. Smoking tobacco, lip piercings, and tooth grinding can also cause gums to recede over time.
Understanding the Importance of Healthy Gums
If you have receding gums, you should take the time to get treated as soon as possible. There are multiple dangers associated with gum recession.
One problem is that the roots of the teeth are more sensitive than the tips. When gums recede enough to expose the part of the tooth not protected with enamel, you can end up with sensitive teeth that hurt frequently. The roots of the teeth are also more likely to get infected or damaged from bacteria buildup, resulting in tooth decay. This can cause cavities that need a dental filling to repair. Eventually, if the gums recede enough or your tooth decays enough, you may lose your tooth.
Treatment Options for Gum Recession
Several treatment options are depending on how severe your gum recession is. Your periodontist can assess the condition of your gums and help you find the right treatment for your needs. The mildest option is deep dental cleanings. Root planing and tooth scaling procedures involve cleaning all the plaque and tartar off your teeth above and below the gum line. Then, the root of the tooth gets smoothed to make it easier for the gums to reattach. You may need root canals, tooth fillings, or other dental work to fix the damage caused by the recession.
If the gums have receded too much for this to be an option, you will need to talk with your periodontist about surgery. Open flap scaling and root planing is a procedure that involves the dentist folding back your gum tissue, cleaning the area, and then re-securing your gums to your teeth. If the bone surrounding your teeth is decaying, a graft or tissue-stimulating protein might get added to the area to secure the teeth and encourage bone regeneration. You can also get gum tissue grafts if needed. This surgery uses tissue from the roof of your mouth to rebuild your gums.
Contact Lovett Dental Northside Today
If you have receding gums, Lovett Dental Northside can assess your condition and help find a treatment that suits your needs. In addition to our periodontists, we also provide a variety of other routine and specialty dental services, such as:
- Dental exams and cleanings
- Braces and clear aligners
- Tooth implants and crowns
- Dental fillings
- Teeth whitening