Gum Recession: Treatment Options to Improve Periodontal Health
Dr. Patrick Tanner believes that the best approach to dental care is one that takes into account the aesthetics and wellness of all structures of the mouth. This can be achieved through advanced restorative dentistry that targets the teeth and gums.
One issue that many of our South Ogden patients deal with is gum recession. Gum recession refers to the steady loss of tissue along the gumline. As this happens, more of the patient's root structure becomes exposed. It's a problem that's often misunderstood, so we want to take a moment to consider some of the basics with regard to causes and treatment options.
The Symptoms of Gum Recession
The first signs of gum recession tend to be tooth sensitivity, particularly with hot substances (e..g., soups) and cold substances (e.g., ice cream). As gum recession becomes more pronounced, people will notice the exposure of more of the root structure of their teeth.
Why should gum recession be taken seriously?
As a person's gums recede, more of his or her tooth structure becomes vulnerable to tooth decay. Tooth decay down around the gumline can be very difficult to treat, and can increase the chances of a root canal infection occurring. Teeth with a significant amount of their root structure exposed can also become wiggly and less stable, making tooth loss more likely.
The Causes of Gum Recession
Some of the most common causes of gum recession include:
- Aggressive brush and flossing of the teeth
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Smoking cigarettes and the use of chewing tobacco
- Gum disease (gingivitis, periodontitis, advanced periodontitis)
- Tooth grinding (bruxism)
- Abrasion from piercings of the tongue or lips
It should also be noted that gum recession may be caused by the natural aging process given all of the accrued damage that may affect the gumline over time.
Treatment Options for Gum Recession
The treatment options for gum recession are many, and they depend on the cause of the gum recession itself.
For gum recession caused by gum disease, treatment will involve the use of antibiotics and antiseptic rinses to help bring the bacterial infection of the gums under control.
For gum recession caused by tooth grinding (bruxism), the best option for care tends to involve the use of a mouth guard to reduce pressure on the teeth and gums or orthodontic care to improve dental alignment and bring the tooth grinding under control.
An important part of treating gum recession is rebuilding any lost gum tissue and covering up the exposed root structure. This can be accomplished using artificial soft tissue grafts or donor tissue (often taken from the roof of the mouth). This soft tissue is stitched into place in order to heal over the exposed root structure and restore the gumline to its original state.
Tips for the Prevention of Gum Recession
Here are a few ways that you can prevent gum recession from occurring:
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush gently
- When flossing, be thorough but delicate
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
- Floss your teeth at least once a night (ideally after every meal)
- Quit using tobacco products (or just don't start)
- Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups
Schedule a Consultation for General Dental Care
For more information about treating gum recession and preventing problems with periodontal health, it's important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. We at South Ogden Smiles look forward to your visit and helping you achieve the best possible dental health.