Do your teeth seem unusually long, or your gums feel shrunken in comparison to your teeth? If so, you might be suffering from some degree of a fairly common condition known as gum recession.
Our gums are often overlooked in favor of maintaining the appearance of our teeth. However, this small area of soft tissue plays a vital role in supporting the health and longevity of our teeth. This is because the tissue creates a tight seal around the base of our teeth, protecting the roots from bacteria and supporting the bone. Should our gums become compromised, it could lead to serious tooth decay, advanced periodontal disease, loss of the jaw bone and soft tissue infection that enters the bloodstream and travels around our body to our major organs, putting our general health at risk.
If your gums bleed often or look like they are receding, it is important that you arrange an appointment for a check-up with our dentist as soon as possible.
Causes of gum recession
There are a number of different factors that contribute towards the development of a receding gum line. Some of the most common include:
Easily the most common condition linked to gum recession, periodontal disease (also known as gingivitis, gum disease and periodontitis) occurs when plaque that accumulates along the gum line begins to irritate the soft tissues. The bacteria in the plaque causes symptoms that include red, swollen and painful gums, bleeding when you brush your teeth and bad breath. Left untreated, the gums can become infected, and start to pull away from the teeth. Further dental problems can develop, culminating in jaw bone loss, tooth loss and widespread infection.
Harsh brushing and gum recession
When it comes to cleaning our teeth, many of us mistakenly believe that the harder we brush, the cleaner our teeth will be. However, using a firm-bristled brush and too much force can actually damage the enamel of our teeth as well as push the gums back away from them.
Tooth misalignment and gum recessions
Unfortunately, few of us have perfectly straight teeth. However, if yours are particularly crooked, twisted, or out of alignment, it can actually push the gums back away from your teeth and make you more likely to develop periodontal problems in the future.
Bruxism can lead to gum recession
A surprising number of people suffer from this condition in which you unknowingly clench or grind your teeth when you sleep. Unfortunately, bruxism causes a number of dental problems, including gum recession.
How to treat gum recession
If your gums are only receding slightly, chances are you will be able to rectify the situation without professional intervention, other than advice on the best way to care for your teeth. Your dentist will probably suggest changing up your toothbrush or brushing technique, or in the case of bruxism, may recommend that you get a mouth guard to wear to protect your teeth when you sleep. Generic mouth guards are widely available, but many patients don’t find them to be particularly comfortable. However, it is possible to request for your dentist to arrange a custom-designed version which should fit much more closely and be more tolerable to wear.
Since receding gums tend to lead to the development of periodontal pockets where bacteria can accumulate and cause problems, your dentist may recommend a procedure known as root planing. This is a deep clean under the gums that gets rid of any bacteria from the roots of your teeth and ensures that the periodontal pockets are free of bacteria and debris.
If your gums have receded significantly, we may recommend that you consider a procedure known as gum grafting. This involves taking soft tissue from the roof of your mouth and using it to build up the tissue around the gums and teeth. This is an invasive procedure that shouldn’t be viewed lightly but can be highly successful in restoring the gum line and providing additional support to your teeth.
If you would like more information about gum recession, including the treatment options that are available, our team can help. Call Jupiter Dentistry today to learn more.