Receding gums can be a sign of much more serious issues, such as periodontal disease. Unfortunately, many people remain unaware of their gum recession until it may be too late. In this article, our Atlanta dentists discuss the causes of gum recession, treatment options and what you can do to prevent it.
Causes of Gum Recession
Usually, gum recession is caused by periodontal (gum) disease, which is a serious problem that affects about three out of four adults. However, receding gums also might be caused by aggressive tooth brushing or a misaligned bite, which can create excessive force on the teeth and gums. Grinding and clenching the teeth also can exacerbate gum recession.
Signs of Gum Recession
Because it happens gradually, it isn’t always easy to tell if your gums are receding. Following are some signs to look for:
- Tooth sensitivity, caused by exposed tooth roots.
- The tooth appears longer than normal.
- A notch can be felt at the base of the tooth, near the gumline.
If your gums are receding, your dentist’s primary priority will be determining the cause of the problem, which will then dictate potential treatment options.
- If gum disease is causing your gum recession, your dentist or periodontist might recommend an intense cleaning process known as scaling and root planing to reduce the presence of bacteria.
- If misalignment is the cause, then straightening the teeth might be necessary.
- Regardless of the cause of gum recession, one common way to repair the damage is to graft skin, usually taken from the roof of the mouth, to cover the root.
- You can also take some steps at home to reduce the sensitivity of your teeth, such as by using special toothpaste.
- Your dentist also might reduce sensitivity by applying a desensitizing agent or filling the notches along the gumline with a tooth-colored filling material.
An Ounce of Prevention
Prevention is always better than treatment. To prevent or arrest gum recession:
- Floss daily.
- Brush gently, at least twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Don’t smoke.
- Protect periodontal disease with Perio Protect. These medicated trays destroy bacteria housed in the pockets between your gums and teeth.
- See your dentist twice a year for check-ups
Don’t put off gum recession treatment. If you live in the Atlanta area, give our gentle dentists a call today to schedule a consultation.