When the tissue that usually covers the roots of the teeth starts to pull back, it’s a condition known as gum recession. Notches or bumps at the gum line or additional sensitivity are both signs that your gums are receding. Dr. John Paul Gallardo sees many patients in Miami for this condition.
When your gums recede, they create openings or pockets where bacteria can thrive. Over time, these bacteria can cause considerable damage to your teeth and gums.
The sooner gum recession is caught and treated, the easier it is to treat and reverse. Advanced treatments are also available. With that in mind, let’s take a look at why gum recession is a major dental issue, steps to prevent it, and treatment options.
What Are The Causes Of Gum Recession?
Receding gums are often associated with gum disease. Periodontal disease is not the only major cause of the gingival recession, however. A mix of the following lifestyle habits and genetics can also influence whether your gums recede or not.
#1 Brushing Too Hard
Dentists suggest brushing your teeth at least twice a day to remove food debris, plaque, and bacteria. Some people take this advice to the extreme and go to town on their teeth and gums.
It is best to brush gently. Brushing your teeth too hard or with a hard or medium-bristled toothbrush can actually wear down the gums, causing them to pull away from the teeth. It also leads to enamel erosion.
If you’re brushing too hard, talk to your dentist. They might recommend switching brushes and can show you the correct amount of pressure to use when brushing.
You can also invest in an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor. If you’re using too much force, the brush will alert you until you loosen up.
#2 Poor Oral Care
Not keeping up with a good dental health routine can also lead to gum recession. When you don’t floss daily or skip brushing, it can lead to plaque and bacteria buildup.
Plaque hardens into tartar on the teeth and below the gum line, pushing your gums away from the teeth. While you can take care of plaque at home, only your dentist can remove tartar buildup from your teeth.
#3 Your Genes And Hormones
Some people are more likely to have receding gums than others due to their family history and genes. Your genes might make you predisposed to gum disease, which can increase your risk of developing gingival recession. If your mom or dad had gingival recession, it’s likely you will, too.
The same is true of your hormones. Changing hormone levels due to birth control, pregnancy, and menopause can increase your risk for gum disease. It might also lead to gum recession.
#4 Bruxism And Misalignment
Just as brushing too hard can contribute to receding gums, so can grinding your teeth. Bruxism, or tooth grinding, is a fairly common condition that can affect your oral health. It not only makes gum recession more likely but can also wear down the teeth and cause enamel erosion.
In some cases, misaligned and crooked teeth can irritate the gums enough to cause a recession. If you are concerned about the alignment of your teeth, braces or another method of straightening the teeth and adjusting the bite might help you.
#5 Poor-Fitting Dentures
Dentures are often the least expensive option for replacing a missing tooth or teeth. But they also have drawbacks.
If they don’t fit right, you can be left with receding gums. Loose dentures can irritate the gum tissue, ultimately causing it to pull back from the teeth.
Some lifestyle choices, such as smoking, will make your gums more likely to recede. An injury to the mouth, birth control pills, or loose-fitting dentures can put you at greater risk for developing receding gums.
Why Are Receding Gums A Problem?
Looks aside, receding gums pose various problems. It is best not to expose the roots of your teeth for a number of reasons.
If you don’t have a tough coating of enamel on your tooth roots, it means they are sensitive to temperature changes or hot and cold foods. They are also more prone to decay without the gums to protect them.
Can Gum Recession Be Prevented?
In some cases, prevention is possible. Making some changes to your habits can help reduce the chances of gingival recession progressing further.
Improve Your Oral Care
One of the easiest ways to help prevent receding gums is to improve your oral health habits. Get in the habit of brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. Your dentist or periodontist can demonstrate the best way to brush and floss to protect your teeth and gums.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Improving your lifestyle can also reduce the risk of receding gums. Talk to your doctor or dentist about ways to quit smoking or using tobacco products if needed.
If you have a piercing on the lip or tongue, see if you can take it out. Cutting back on sugary foods and adopting a nutritious diet can also reduce your risk of receding gums.
Treatment Options For Receding Gums
If you have gum recession issues, it is best to treat them as soon as possible. Receding gums can make your teeth feel more sensitive and lead to loose teeth.
Treatment options for receding gums range from minimally invasive to surgical. The goal of these treatments is to restore the gum tissue, address gum disease, reduce the chance of tooth loss, and reduce sensitivity.
Treatment During Early Stages
How your dentist treats or reverses gum recession depends on its stage. In the earliest stages, the condition is easiest to treat.
The first thing to do is to stop the recession from continuing. Your dentist will most likely recommend switching to a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Changing your brushing technique won’t reverse the recession. However, it will help to keep it from becoming worse.
If your receding gums are due to periodontal disease, early treatment options usually involve scaling and root planing. Also known as deep cleaning, scaling includes removing the bacteria trapped between the gums and the teeth. Root planing smooths the surface of the gums to prevent bacterial build-up
Treatment During Advanced Stages
One of the newer methods for treating gum recession is the pinhole surgical technique. It helps to reverse gum recession by manipulating the gum tissue over the exposed tooth roots. In the pinhole technique, the dentist puts small holes into the gums.
The dentist then gently pushes the gums downwards so that they cover the teeth. Several benefits of the technique include a short recovery time, less time in the dentist’s chair, and minimal discomfort or bleeding.
This technique can be used on up to 14 teeth during a single treatment session, compared to just one or two teeth during a traditional gum graft.
More traditional treatment options for receding gums are gingival grafting or gum grafting with Alloderm. This helps restore the missing gum tissue.
The grafts cover the exposed root, reducing the risks of tooth loss and a further future recession. Grafts also improve the appearance of the mouth.
New methods use regenerated donor tissue to restore the gum line. Since there is only a single surgical site required, the procedure is considerably more comfortable for patients.
Call Our Office Today
Treatment is available to help you reverse gum recession and restore your smile. In Miami, Florida, periodontist Dr. John Paul Gallardo offers patients a variety of treatment options for receding gums. To learn more about reversing your gingival recession with various treatment options, call 305-547-8687 today.