About Gum Recession
Gum recession happens when the surface of the gums that surrounds your teeth becomes unhealthy and begins to pull away from your teeth. Left untreated, it can expose more of your teeth than is welcome, and eventually expose the roots. When gums recede, they form gaps or “pockets” that make it easier for food and bacterial to build up, leading to gingivitis and periodontitis. In severe cases, the jaw bone and other facial structures can become damaged, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Gum recession is a common problem and usually begins slowly. Although some degree of gum recession is quite common, especially as a patient ages, advanced situations allow the teeth to become more susceptible to decay and damage. With proper professional care and diligent at-home care, gum recession can be treated and in some cases, reversed.
What causes gum recession?
Gums can recede for a variety of reasons including:
- Gum disease
- Poor dental care
- Certain genetic traits
- Brushing too hard
- Crooked teeth
How do I know if my gums are receding?
One of the main ways you can tell if your gums are receding is to look at them closely in the mirror. If you begin to see peaks forming, the tops of your teeth exposed, or even in extreme cases root exposure, you are probably experience some degree of gum recession. Another common symptom of gum recession is sensitivity to hot and cold food or drink.
Can gum recession be treated?
Depending upon the severity of the case, there are a variety of ways to treat this condition. Less severe cases can benefit from a professional dental cleaning that will include scaling and planning. More severe cases may include antibiotic treatments, and in the most severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. In some cases, topical treatments such as Straumann’s Emdogain may be helpful.
Can gum recession be reversed?
In many cases, professional intervention and increased and consistent at-home care can reduce the gum line and in some cases restore your gums to a fully healthy state. It’s important to keep in mind that gum recession can return without proper care.
What if I decide not to do anything about my receding gums?
If gums are allowed to recede, over time the tissue will deteriorate. Food and bacteria can build up and continue to damage the gums to the point that tooth and bone tissue may become compromised. If this happens, and is left untreated, tooth loosening and loss becomes more of a risk.
How can I prevent my gums from receding?
Similar to the prevention of gum disease discussed above, proper oral care which includes daily brushing and flossing can help keep your gums healthy and working properly.
What should I do if I suspect my gums are receding?
As with gum disease, the earlier you catch and treat receding gums, the better chance you have to treat and reverse the damage it can cause.
If you already have a dentist, that’s the best place to start the discussion about gum treatment and care. If you don’t have a dentist, you can find one here.