You’ve heard a lot about gum disease, but have you heard about gum recession? This is a condition that needs to be treated properly to prevent it from getting worse, especially since it may lead to tooth loss. Yikes!
What is gum recession, and how can it be treated? We’ve got you covered with some helpful info below.
A Brief Explanation of Gum Recession, It’s Causes, and Symptoms
When the gum tissue that surrounds teeth pulls away from them, exposing more of the teeth, including their roots, it’s referred to as gum recession.
A pocket develops between the gums and the teeth affected, making it more likely that bacteria can get in there and cause harm. Ultimately, if treatment isn’t sought, the tooth structure itself will be compromised, and you might end up permanently losing those pearly whites.
What causes receding gums? Well, a number of factors might be to blame.
The usual suspect is gum disease, but grinding or clenching might also cause recession, as can poor oral hygiene habits, including brushing too aggressively.
In terms of symptoms, you might not even know that you have this problem, as it will develop slowly. However, if you experience sensitivity, that might be a sign that something is wrong. Also, if your teeth start to appear longer than they used to, or you feel a little notch when you place your finger near your gums, you might have receding gums.
Other symptoms might include gums that are red, tender, painful, or swollen. You might experience bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth, or a change in your bite. But if you notice that your teeth are loose, it’s definitely time to see your dentist ASAP.
Because this isn’t something that you’ll always be able to pick up on on your own, it’s wise to see your dentist regularly for checkups. He or she might notice gum recession in its earliest stages, making it easier to treat.
Don’t Hesitate to Get Treatments for Receding Gums!
The treatment that you’ll need to fix gum recession will depend on how advanced the condition is:
When mild, or in its early stages, your dentist might recommend having the area deep cleaned professionally. Referred to as scaling and root planing, this treatment can clean away plaque and tartar found on teeth and on their roots below the gums. Plus, if there is exposed root, it can be smoothed in order to make it harder for bacteria to stick.
In the case of more severe gum recession, such as if there are deep pockets or bone loss, your dentist might recommend a surgical procedure, such as open flap scaling and root planing, regeneration of lost tissue and bone, or a gum tissue graft.
Here’s a more specific breakdown of the various surgical procedures to treat gum recession:
A gum tissue graft may be needed if a lot of gum tissue was lost because of recession. Basically, tissue is taken from another part of the mouth so that it can be attached to the area around a tooth that was affected. This restores the look and function of the gums to protect the teeth.
When gum recession severely damages the bone that supports a tooth, regeneration may be necessary. This involves folding the gums back, cleaning out the bacteria, and then placing tissue-stimulating protein, a membrane, or graft tissue to regenerate what was lost. Finally, the gums are secured over the roots to allow healing.
Open flap scaling and root planing involves folding back the gums, removing bacteria, and securing the gums back over the roots of the affected teeth to get rid of any pockets, or at least minimize the size of those pockets.
Receding gums treatment may also depend on the cause of your gum recession:
If gum disease is to blame, your dentist might recommend receiving treatments to get your gums back into a state of health. Once again, scaling and root planing might be the way to go, as it can help the gums reattach themselves to the teeth after plaque and tartar are removed.
If the gum recession is the result of you brushing too aggressively, it’s time to change your habits. Your dentist can instruct you on how to brush more carefully and gently, and will likely recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush if you aren’t already doing so.
If the cause of your gum recession is the fact that you clench or grind your teeth, such as when you sleep, you might need a mouthguard. On the other hand, if it’s poor fitting dentures that are to blame, your dentist can help you get new ones that will fit perfectly.
Your Dentist Can Help You Keep Your Gums Healthy and Strong
Seeing your dentist regularly with the help of Spirit dental insurance can put your mind at ease about gum recession, especially since it’s a condition that comes on gradually and sometimes under your radar. With professional checkups and cleanings, you can catch a gum problem before it becomes advanced, so you can tackle it without having to go through a surgical procedure. But even if you have advanced gum recession, rest assured that there are several treatment options available to restore the health of your smile.
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