Gum recession is when the margin of the gum tissue adjacent to the teeth wears away or exposes more of the tooth. When this happens, gaps or pockets emerge between the teeth and gum line, making it easier for disease-causing bacteria to grow. Unless treatment is done, the supporting tissue and bone structures of your teeth can end up badly damaged, potentially resulting in tooth loss.
What causes gums to recede?
Multiple factors can cause gum recession, including periodontal disease, genetics, brushing teeth too aggressively, inadequate dental care, hormonal changes (for women), tobacco usage, tooth grinding, having a misaligned bite, or lip and tongue piercings.
Gum recession is one of the most common dental problems. Most people don't even know they have it because of how slowly it occurs. The first sign of this problem is usually tooth sensitivity. You might also see that a tooth looks longer than usual, and you can usually feel a notch near the gum line.
Ignoring this condition or thinking it will go away on its own is not a good idea. If you think you are suffering from gum recession, schedule an appointment right away so we can repair your gums and stop any further problems. We will assess to examine the extent of the damage and determine the method of treatment.
How is gum recession treated?
If the gum recession in your mouth is minor, Dr. Greenlee will likely deep clean the affected area. Doing this will carefully remove any tartar and plaque that has built up on your teeth and root surfaces below the gum line. The exposed root area is then smoothed out to make it harder for bacteria to attach itself. We might also administer antibiotics to eliminate any harmful bacteria that may remain.
However, if your gum recession has resulted in the loss of too much bone and deep pockets, we may need to do surgery on your gums to prepare the damage. There are multiple kinds of surgical procedures that we use to treat receding gums. After assessing the damage, we will determine the best course of action given your personal needs.
How do I prevent gum recession?
The most effective method to avoid gum recession is by taking good care of your mouth. Brush and floss your teeth each day and come in for a dental checkup at least twice a year. If you are suffering from gum recession, you may need to come in more often. We will show you the proper way to brush your teeth. Make sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. If your gum recession is caused by a misaligned bite or teeth grinding, talk to Dr. Greenlee about how to address the problem.
We also suggest quitting smoking (if you do smoke), eating a balanced diet, and monitoring your mouth for any changes. Proactive prevention goes a long way in ensuring a healthy mouth. If you think your gums are receding, please give us a call at (630) 394-9787.
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