At Impressions Dental, our Erie family dentist works hard to help protect the oral health of all of our patients. While many of our patients understand the dangers of tooth decay and cavities when it comes to the health of their teeth, many may not realize the significant risk their oral health faces when it comes to receding gums.
Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue that surrounds the base of our teeth begins to pull back and expose the delicate roots and nerves that lie underneath. When gum recession develops, “pockets,” or gaps, form between our teeth and the gum line. This makes it incredibly easy for harmful oral bacteria to build up along and below the gum line. If left untreated, the bacteria can attack and destroy the underlying bone structure and gum tissue that hold our teeth into position, which could lead to permanent tooth loss.
While gum recession ranks as an incredibly common oral health problem, most patients don’t realize they even have a problem because the condition develops slowly. One of the first signs of gum recession is tooth sensitivity, but you may also start to notice that your teeth appear longer or that a notch has developed along the gum line.
Just like tooth decay and gum disease, ignoring gum recession could lead to some serious oral problems that permanently impact the long-term health of your smile. If a receding gum line causes you some concern, you need to schedule an exam with our Erie family dentist, Dr. Todd Matheson. Dr. Matheson offers a variety of treatment methods designed to help prevent and repair the damage done by receding gums.
What Causes Gums to Recede?
Gum recession has a number of common causes that include:
Gum disease. A bacterial infection, untreated gum disease can cause gum tissue to become irritated, swollen and inflamed. As the disease progresses, the infection begins to slowly destroy the tissue that holds our teeth into place. Gum disease ranks as the most common cause of gum recession.
Genetics. Some patients simply have an increased risk for developing gum disease due to their genetic makeup. In fact, studies have found that 30 percent of the world’s population may have a predisposition for developing gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their oral health.
Over-brushing. Even though brushing ranks as one of the most effective habits for the prevention of gum disease and recession, it is possible to cause problems by over-brushing. By brushing too often or with too much force, you can irritate gum tissue, causing inflammation to develop. Gum inflammation can lead to the development of gum disease and recession.
Poor dental care. On the opposite side of over-brushing is not brushing enough. Failure to brush and floss daily allows harmful oral bacteria to buildup on the surface your teeth, increasing your risk for gum disease.
Teeth grinding and clenching. Clenching or grinding your teeth at night can place excessive force on your teeth, causing gums to recede.
Smoking. Smokers are more likely to have plaque stick to the surface of their teeth, and smokers also have a harder time removing plaque from the surface of their teeth.
How is Gum Recession Treated?
Dr. Matheson may be able to treat mild cases of gum recession by deeply cleaning the affected area. During a deep clean – also referred to as root planing and scaling – tartar and plaque that has built up on the root and surfaces below the gum line is delicately removed. The tooth root is then smoothed to make it more difficult for bacteria to attach itself in the future.
If a patient’s recession cannot be treated with scaling and planing due to excess bone or tissue loss, gum surgery may be required to repair the damage done to the gum tissue.
How Can I Prevent Gum Recession?
Taking care of your oral health is the best way to prevent gum recession. Brushing and flossing daily, along with scheduling regular exams with Dr. Matheson, still offer the best chances for lower your risk for gum disease and recession. If your gums have already started to recede, you may need to visit your Erie family dentist more often.
Patients with receding or delicate gums should always brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush. If you need instruction on the best brushing practices, make sure to ask Dr. Matheson during your next visit to Impression Dental.
Avoiding receding gum is not only possible, but a necessary part of enjoying a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Contact our office today to find out more about what Dr. Matheson can do to help repair the health of your smile.