Receding gums, also known as gingival recession, is a condition in which the roots of the teeth become exposed, leading to a greater risk of decay and the eventual loss of teeth, if left untreated. Exposed roots can also lead to sensitivity to hot foods, cold foods or acids, making eating an uncomfortable affair. Fortunately, modern oral hygiene and dentistry have made receding gum treatment less of a problem than in generations past, even for older adults. It is now easier than ever to both prevent and treat gingival recession. Here, we take a deeper look into what causes receding gums and how to treat the problem.
What are receding gums?
Gingival recession is the process in which 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 gum recession occurs, “pockets,” or gaps, form between the teeth and gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be severely damaged, and may ultimately result in tooth loss.
What causes gums to recede?
There are a number of factors that can cause your gums to recede, including:
What are the symptoms?
Gum recession is a common dental problem. Most people don’t know they have gum recession because it occurs gradually. The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, or you may notice a tooth looks longer than normal. Typically, a notch can be felt near the gum line.
How do you prevent receding gums?
Keeping your gums healthy is the best way to minimize recession. Brushing twice a day, flossing and keeping up with dental cleanings performed by a dental professional are usually all that is needed to keep gums from receding from the teeth. For some people, however, it’s not that simple. Heredity can cause teeth to recede, despite even the best hygiene practices. You may grind your teeth or have a misalignment, making it easier for plaque and tartar to build up at the gum line and causing it to recede.
How do you treat gingival recession?
The first step in treatment is to determine what factors are contributing to the recession, so they can be lessened or, if possible, eliminated. For instance, crooked teeth can be straightened, tobacco use curbed and better oral hygiene methods incorporated. Once those factors are addressed, different treatments can be used by your dental professional to enhance and restore the appearance to your gums:
Gum recession might occur very slowly, sometimes over a period of years. This can make it tough to spot if you don’t experience pain or sensitivity. However, if you notice that your teeth appear longer, or the spaces in between them appear bigger at the base, contact your dentist, as these may be signs that your receding gums require treatment.
Do you have any questions about receding gums? Call Westermeier Martin Dental care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-655-5000 or request an appointment online.