Receding Gums & Gum Recession
San Antonio Dental Office
Do you have receding gums?
If you have gum recession, then you’re probably familiar with the zinging pain that happens when ice water or sugar hits those recession spots. You may have also noticed that the areas with recession are yellower than normal and are more sensitive to brushing. Gum recession causes increased sensitivity and discoloration; however, it also puts you at risk of losing the teeth with the receding gum line. Receding gum treatment involves eliminating the source of the recession and then repairing it. Keep reading to learn more about what causes recession and how to fix receding gums
Actual Patient with Gum Recession
Can you see the yellowed areas? That is recession.
Why does it matter if I have a little less gum tissue?
Receding gums matter because they make teeth fall out. It’s that simple.
How Does Gum Recession Make Teeth Fall Out?
For starters, you need to know that your gums are your teeth’s security guards. A receding gum line is a sign that your teeth’s security system is damaged. The primary way the gums protect the teeth is by forming a protective seal attached around each tooth that keeps the bad stuff out of the tooth and bone. When gums recede, the recession compromises the special gum tissue that attaches the gums to the teeth and forms that protective seal. Dentists call this special gum tissue “attached gingiva.” When the attached gingiva goes away, so does the protective seal. Recession kills your teeth’s security guards.
Security Guard Down – Goodbye Attached Gingiva, Hello Infection!
When the gums are compromised, plaque and bacteria gain an easier entry around the tooth root and into the bone. As the junk accumulates deep around the tooth root, an infection sets in. Dentists call this infection “periodontal disease.” The infection kills the bone around the tooth root and leaves it hanging in mid-air without support. When you first notice the receding gum line, that is the time to pursue receding gums treatmnet. If you wait, the teeth eventually get loose. From there, the next step is teeth falling out. Not fun.
“I already have recession, how can I fix receding my gums?”
Receding gums treatment starts with fixing whatever caused the recession in the first place. This can be something as simple as overbrushing or an unbalanced bite.
Once the cause of the receding gum line has been eliminated, a dentist can graft new gum tissue to the area where it was lost replacing the seal and slamming the door on bacteria trying to get under your gums.
Suffering from sensitivity because of gum recession?
Ask your dentist about using prescription fluoride varnish that you can use to reduce the sensitivity while you’re waiting to complete your receding gums treatment.
Why spend money replacing lost gum tissue?
Recession often seems so minor to people because the only problem they feel is the shooting pain from cold or sugar. Why should they spend good money replacing lost gum tissue when they can just drink or chew on the other side of their mouths? Well, if the sensitivity was the only issue, we’d simply treat recession with flouride desensitizing varnish or composite bonding for protection. The real problem with recession is that it opens the door to bacteria and infection under the gums, around the teeth and into the bone.
How did I get recession?
The most common thing that causes recession is overbrushing. You probably weren’t expecting that, were you? When we brush with too much pressure or with too hard of bristles, we destroy the gum tissue. The key is to use a soft toothbrush and proper toothbrushing technique. If you’re not sure what proper toothbrushing looks like, ask your hygienist at your next cleaning. She’ll be happy to help you find a technique that works well for you.
An Unhealthy Bite
An unhealthy bite can cause recession because it doesn’t spread the force of chewing evenly across the teeth. When chewing pressure isn’t distributed evenly, some teeth get pounded more than others. Over time this destabilizes the connection or seal between the tooth, the bone and the gum tissue causing recession.
Recession also happens when people genetically have thinner gum tissue. Thinner gum tissue is more susceptible to damage and infection.
Repositioning the teeth during orthodontic treatment outside of their normal bony place could jeopardize the gum tissue around them, leading ultimately to recession.