Causes and Treatment of Gum Recession
By John Rink DDS on October 16, 2013
Gum recession is somewhat like an old piece of furniture with a wobbly leg. The danger might not be noticeable at first, but it slowly gets worse over time, until one day the support is completely gone and the structure collapses. That's why it's important to address the signs of gum recession as early as possible before irreparable damage is done. Knowing the symptoms of gum recession and how it's treated at our restorative dentistry practice in Charleston could help save your teeth.
What Is Gum Recession?
When the gum tissue around your teeth recedes or pulls away and exposes more of the tooth or root, this is known as gum recession. Gum recession is often caused by gum disease, which is usually preceded by gingivitis; in this condition, the gums are red, swollen, and sensitive. As gum disease progresses, it can cause "pockets" to form between the teeth and gum line, where bacteria can easily build up. If left untreated, it can cause tooth damage, tooth loss, and even bone loss.
Other Causes of Gum Recession?
Several factors can lead to gum or gingival recession, such as:
- Tobacco use
- Aggressive or insufficient tooth brushing
- Medical conditions, including eating disorders
- Grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism)
- Crowded, overlapping, or crooked teeth
- Lip or tongue piercings (which can irritate and wear away gum tissue)
- Allergy or sensitivity to sodium lauryl sulfate (found in most toothpastes)
Do I Have Receding Gums?
Because gum recession progresses slowly over years, you may not realize you're losing gum tissue until a particular symptom begins to bother you. If you notice that your teeth appear longer than normal or see increasing spaces between your teeth, along with sensitivity and bleeding gums after brushing or flossing, you should make an appointment to see your dentist.
How Is Gum Recession Treated?
Mild gum recession can be treated in our office by deep cleaning the affected areas. During the deep cleaning, also called root scaling and planing, our specialized hygienist will carefully remove plaque and tartar on your teeth as well as below the gum line, and then smooth the tooth surfaces and roots to promote reattachment of gum tissue and discourage bacteria from growing. For your comfort, the deep cleaning is performed with local anesthesia.
In some cases, we may apply an antibiotic below the gum line to get rid of any remaining bacteria. You may also benefit from cosmetic dentistry treatments, such as laser gum treatment, to even out any irregularities in the gum line. With regular visits and deep cleanings, we can keep an eye on your condition and ensure it doesn't get worse.
Severe cases of gum recession may also require a gum graft. In this treatment, gum tissue is taken from another area of the mouth, and grafted onto the area that is receding.
Learn More about Gum Recession
At the Charleston Center for Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry, we are committed to helping patients achieve optimal oral health and beautiful esthetic results using the latest dental techniques. If you would like more information on gum recession or gum disease treatment, we encourage you to schedule a consultation.