Gingival Recession: Causes & Treatment
Gum or Gingivae is the pink tissue in the mouth that covers each tooth up to the neck and attach firmly to the jaw bone. Healthy and intact gum tissue protects the roots of the teeth.
Gum Recession is a common dental problem, it’s a condition in which this gum tissue surrounding the tooth wears away and pulls back exposing the tooth or the roots. Receding gums allow for a space between the tooth and the gum margin making room for disease-causing plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to build up. Long-standing bacterial infection within the gums can lead to gum diseases such as Gingivitis or Periodontitis and in severe cases loss of a tooth.
Unlike some other tissues, the gum tissue does not regenerate and thus, receding gums don’t grow back! It is advisable, therefore, to catch the early signs of gum disease and prevent further damage.
Tooth sensitivity, loose gums creating a notch near the gum line making teeth look longer than usual, are a few signs you mustn’t ignore!
What Causes Gum Recession?
Poor oral hygiene, physical wear due to aggressive tooth brushing or using a very hard-bristled toothbrush, inflammation of tissue due to Periodontal diseases, hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, grinding and clenching your teeth or very crooked teeth are some of the common causes of gum recession.
Aging, Smoking, and Diabetes are key risk factors for Gum recession.
How Can I Prevent Gum Recession?
If you have a thin gum tissue, you’re more susceptible to gum recession and thus you must be extra vigilant about caring for it. Use soft-bristled toothbrushes in a gentle, circular motion. Practice daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist. Orthodontic solutions to the better positioning of mal-aligned teeth leading to receding gums).
Other ways to prevent gum recession include:
- Reduce or Quit Smoking.
- Have a well-balanced and healthy diet.
- Monitor changes that may occur in your mouth and visit your dentist regularly.
How can you treat Gum Recession?
Mild gum recession can be treated through deep cleaning the affected area. The deep cleaning involves scaling, plaque and tartar removal from below the gum line. Antibiotics also may be given to get rid of any remaining infection.
If your gum recession cannot be treated with deep cleaning because of excess loss of bone and pockets that are too deep, gum surgery may be required to repair the damage caused by gum recession.
What Type of Surgery Is Used to Treat Gum Recession?
Your Dentist can help determine the most effective steps in slowing down or halting the further recession of your gums.
Scaling & Root Planning: Often the first step in treating receding gums, Scaling & Root Planing is a deep cleaning procedure done with a hand-held scraper or an ultrasonic device for scraping away tartar from your teeth and from under your gum line. Your dentist might also prescribe you an antibiotic mouthwash.
Brushing your teeth twice and flossing daily, regular checkups with the dentist and cleaning every six months is advisable to maintain results.
For a more severe case, your dentist might recommend a Flap Surgery or a Gum Graft. Surgery involves lifting up the gum tissues by making an incision, allowing access to deeply located bacteria. Healthy Gum tissue from another part of your mouth is surgically placed to the better appearance of the receded gum and prevent further damage.
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