Gum recession commonly affects people above the age of 40, although it is not limited to this age group. Younger people can be a victim to this condition as well but it is more common in more matured adults. Most people will not even notice the issue at all.
Causes of Gum Recession
Gum recession happens when the soft tissue of the gums is either pulled back or worn away, leaving a greater area of the tooth exposed. In very severe cases, the root of the tooth can become exposed. If left untreated, teeth will become very sensitive and can even begin to fall out entirely. Gum recession is caused by numerous habits and conditions such as: aggressive brushing or flossing, periodontal disease, lack of vitamin C, and hereditary thin gum tissue.
Receding Gums Treatment
Treatments will typically begin with addressing a patient’s specific cause of gum recession. In a lot of cases, the previously mentioned softer toothbrush and gentle brushing methods will be the first course of action. If those options do work, they will really only slow down the recession so it is important to be aware that you may experience sensitivity and further recession in the future. There are some cases where that is all that is needed however, in some cases patients have poor plaque control so more in-depth care is needed.
Plaque issues can be detected by using a special gel or tablet which is activated in the rough or unclean areas of the tooth. These products provide an important visual aid in assessing the presence of plaque and also showing the maturity of plaque. If plaque is detected, the first step is to physically remove the plaque and bacteria from the teeth, gums, and exposed pockets formed by gingival recession. Deep cleaning is a procedure which is called tooth scaling or root planning because the dentist has to clean underneath the gum line. Some cases will require numbing of the mouth as the dentist will need to clean quite deep with a tool called a scaler. Often, these tools are electric devices, known as ultrasonic scalers, sonic scalers, or power scalers. These tools vibrate at a very high frequency, some will create tiny bubbles that work to clean out plaque and kill bacteria and some will simply agitate the plaque from its position in order to clean it out of the pocket.
Some dentists use handheld scalers which are sharp, flat, hooked tools that they use to maneuver in and visually dislodge plaque. The type of tool used will usually depend on the severity of the patient’s plaque and in many cases, a combination of handheld and electric methods will be used. Following scaling, the majority of bacteria will have been destroyed however, any remaining bacteria or infection must be treated and removed to avoid further deterioration of the patient’s gums. Typically, patients are given antibiotics in the case that any bacteria have survived the intrusive scaling procedure.
Gum Graft Surgery
In the event that a scaling procedure is unsuccessful or deemed to be the wrong course of action, graft surgery may be recommended. The aim of a gum graft is to extend the tissue of the gums to cover the roots, thus restoring their placement within the jaw, preventing further damage, and reducing or eliminating the sensitivity a patient is feeling. In order to perform this surgery, tissue will be taken from another part of the patient’s mouth. During the gum graft procedure, typically patients are not even required to be put under Iv anesthesia. Tissue from the surrounding area is manipulated and shaped to cover the tooth exposed by the receding gum.
After the gum graft surgery, it is important to avoid harshly brushing the area, stick to eating foods that are soft and cool, and use medicated mouthwash rinse (if provided by the dentist or surgeon). Also, if patients are given antibiotics, they must be sure to maintain that course of treatment until it is gone.
Gum Grafting Periodontist
Gum graft procedures will not only improve the overall look of someone’s smile, they are also important to the reduction of tooth sensitivity. It is important to talk with a dentist about receding gums before it becomes a bigger problem. North Texas Dental Surgery offers the highest quality of care at the most affordable prices. Come into one of our convenient locations today.