Do you feel that your gums have shrunk over time? Do you notice that your teeth look more elongated than they have in the past? Are you experiencing increased sensitivity? If so, you may be suffering from a dental issue known as gum recession. But, what is gum recession, what are its causes, and is there any option for treatment?
What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is when the gums recede and are not as thick and cover as many teeth as they once had. While protecting our teeth is important, the gums are just as important when it comes to dental health. Gum health is essential to oral health as they protect the roots of teeth and prevent dental issues such as decay, bone loss, infection prevention, and more. So, when gums recede, this leaves room for all of these issues to become a bigger threat. Receding gums are a major concern as it can point to deeper and more serious dental health issues. So, addressing this issue is a very important factor in keeping teeth healthy and allowing them to thrive as long as possible.
How Does Gum Recession Happen?
There are a number of reasons why gum recession may occur. Typically, gum recession occurs due to:
Gum Disease: This is the most common reason for gums to recess. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a condition in which gums swell as the result of a built-up bacteria. This, in time, can lead to infection of the gums and showcases itself with symptoms of bleeding, irritated, and reddened gums.
Teeth Grinding: Another reason for gum recession is the grinding of the teeth, otherwise known as Bruxism. This is typically an involuntary movement and clenching of the jaw during sleeping. It can be prevented by using a custom mouth guard during sleep. But, some people may not even know they suffer from this issue until they start to recognize teeth issues including receding gums.
Non-Straight Teeth: It’s very rare to have perfectly straightened teeth. And, typically, this isn’t a problem. However, if teeth are particularly misaligned, this can cause issues with bite and even with gums, including the recession of gums.
Hard Brushing: Some people are taught to brush their teeth with hard pressure. However, this isn’t the best for our gums. It can actually lead to problems including receding gums, especially if a toothbrush with thicker, harder bristles is used.
How Is Gum Recession Treated?
Treatment for receding gums varies on how severe the issue is. If gums have just started receding due to gum disease, you may be able to restore gum health using preventative measures and oral health care routines. Sometimes this is as simple as a 5-second bite adjustment. Other preventative measures include brushing teeth thoroughly and twice a day as well as cleaning in between teeth using a waterpik or floss daily.
However, if receding gums have led to additional issues like pockets of bacteria built up in the gums, professional intervention may be necessary. One type of treatment is gum disease therapy which consists of cleaning deeper beneath the gums to remove stubborn build-ups such as plaque and calculus. Sometimes this is done in combination with localized time-release antibiotics (Arestin™️). This will help to remove the disease process that causes bone loss and gum recession.
Finally, if gum recession is very serious, there is a treatment option known as gum grafting. Either borrowed gum tissue from the roof of your mouth or a synthetic/donor graft can be used to build up and replace the missing gum tissue at the recession site. This results in thicker more recession-resistant tissue as well as some possible root coverage to help treat your gum recession.