Find Help for Gum Recession at Deer Park Dental
If you are past a certain age, you may have heard the old expression “long in the tooth.” This saying used to be used frequently in describing a person’s age. The reason behind it is that, many years ago, it was common to notice the elongation of teeth as one grew older. Therefore, to be long in the tooth was to be somewhat old. Teeth do not really grow longer, but they may appear so due to the common problem of gum recession.
Why Gums Recede
The primary cause of gum recession is periodontal disease, or gum disease. This condition not only compromises the supportive integrity of gum tissue around teeth, but, if not treated, can also lead to tooth instability or loss. Gum disease is, in fact, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
In addition to gum disease, recession may also be the direct result of aggressive brushing, or of bruxism, which is grinding and clenching teeth. Aggressive brushing literally wears the gums down over time, abrading delicate tissue. Bruxism, on the other hand, places unusual force on the periodontal ligament and tissues, ultimately causing the gums to pull away from teeth. It can also be caused by a ligament or muscle attachment high on the ridge near a tooth which pulls the tissue during chewing and mouth movements.
What can be Done for Receding Gums
The best way to manage gum recession is to take good care of your teeth and gums so this problem does not occur. If we notice problematic recession during your routine exam, we may suggest a few methods of treatment.
If gum recession is associated with gum disease, a deep cleaning may be recommended. This procedure cleanses pockets of debris around teeth with gum disease. The exposed roots are smoothed in order to encourage attachment between tissue and teeth. Gum grafting may also be appropriate to cover exposed roots and to minimize discomfort associated with nerve irritation.
Types of Gum Grafting
There are a few common ways in which gum grafting may be performed. These include:
- Connective-tissue grafting. This procedure harvests tissue from the roof of the mouth to cover exposed root surfaces. Tissue is obtained via a small flap created in the palate. Tissue that is stitched around the tooth integrates with surrounding gum tissue to enhance the secure attachment to the root.
- Gingival grafting uses the same basic technique, but obtains harvested tissue directly from the palate.
- A pedicle graft will harvests tissue from the adjacent tooth to repair recession.
Why Gum Grafting
Gum recession can be a progressive issue that compromises a tooth if not properly treated. The grafting procedure encourages tissue to regenerate to cover vulnerable areas such as the root. Covering exposed root surfaces improves comfort, and also increases protection against decay on those surfaces. In addition to reducing sensitivity and protecting roots, gum grafting can also reinstate the even gum line that enhances the overall esthetic value of the smile.
Preventing Gum Recession with Healthy Habits
We all know that brushing and flossing is recommended for cavity prevention, but these habits are also crucial to gum health.
- For optimal efficacy, brushing should be done for two full minutes, and then floss should be gently run in between every tooth.
- If you tend to brush with excessive force, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may even try to brush with your non-dominant hand in order to reduce the abrasiveness to gum tissue.
- Do not skip the floss!
- Talk with your dentist about a mouth guard if you know you clench or grind your teeth. This habit usually occurs while you sleep. Wearing a mouth guard blunts the force on teeth and periodontal tissues, minimizing your risk of recession.
- See your dentist on a regular basis. With early detection, gum disease and gum recession are more easily managed.