Dental Care Blog
Doug Klein DDS, Grandville MI
What is it telling you, and how is it treated?
If your smile is revealing more of your gums than it has in the past, you’re not alone. Gum recession is a common dental problem, and most people don’t realize it because it occurs gradually.
If left untreated, it can cause myriad dental problems down the line. Fortunately, if caught early and treatment is started at an early stage, you can stop or reverse the process of gum recession — and Dr. Klein can help.
The gums are composed of pink tissue in the mouth that meets the base of the teeth. Gum tissue is dense, and it has a good supply of blood vessels beneath a moist surface. When intact, the gums cover the roots of the teeth and protect them.
What happens with gum recession is that the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth, or the tooth’s root. When this happens, gaps can form between the teeth and gum line. This makes it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated, it could ultimately lead to tooth loss as the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth become severely damaged.
While poor oral hygiene contributes to gum recession, it can also happen in people with good oral hygiene due to a number of factors:
Around 88 percent of people 65 years and older have a receding gum in at least one tooth.
The main cause of gum recession is gum disease. Bacterial gum infections destroy gum tissue and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place.
Brushing your teeth too vigorously or with a brush that has hard bristles is a common cause of receding gums. Even when dental hygiene might otherwise be good, over-brushing can cause receding gums.
Almost one-third of the population may be predisposed to gum disease due to the position of their teeth and gum thickness.
People who use tobacco products face an increased risk of receding gums as a sticky plaque on their teeth is difficult to remove and can cause gum recession.
Most cases of mild gum recession do not need treatment, and your dentist may teach you effective but gentle brushing techniques as an early intervention. For people who do need treatment, there are several options:
Plaque and tartar that has built up on the teeth and root surfaces below the gum line is carefully removed, and the exposed root area is smoothed to make it more difficult for bacteria to attach itself.
This material is the same pink color of the gums and is applied to fill the gaps where the gums have receded.
Here tooth-colored composite resins are used to cover the surface of the root.
The most severe cases may require a dental surgeon to graft tissue from another site in the mouth. The transplanted tissue heals over the gum recession.
The best way to prevent gum recession is through good oral hygiene. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t be overly aggressive with your brushing. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet and avoid the use of tobacco products.
To learn more about how Klein Dental can help you with your gum recession, contact us anytime. We’d love to learn more about your unique situation and find a treatment plan that’s right for you.