ALL ABOUT YOUR GUMS
While your teeth are an important part of how brilliant your smile is, your gums are just as important. This delicate tissue in your mouth is the foundation of your smile and performs the important purposes of holding your teeth in position and protecting their vulnerable tooth roots. Therefore, a receding gumline is more than just an aesthetic concern; it is a serious oral health condition. In order to keep your gums in good health, you need to learn the common precursors to gum recession. From there, you can adjust your habits and oral health routine to avoid receding gums. However, if you currently suffer from receding gums, you have many options for procedures that can help in the restoration of your gumline. At DentalWorks - Wake Forest, our skilled staff of dental professionals offers both preventive care as well as several procedures for receding gums, each of which is selected depending on the reason behind your gum recession. Continue reading to learn more about receding gums, the causes, and common treatment methods. Area patients who have questions about their gum health should set up an oral health examination with their dental practitioner in Wake Forest, NC.
ALL ABOUT RECEDING GUMS
Gum recession occurs when the delicate gum tissue starts to pull away from the teeth. An increasing amount of the enamel becomes exposed until, eventually, the sensitive tooth roots are also exposed. Gum recession typically won't happen overnight; first, patients will notice symptoms such as inflamed and tender gums that bleed easily. Pus at your gumline and persistent foul-smelling breath (halitosis) are also symptoms that often develop before receding gums. If you notice any of them, you should set up an appointment with your dental practitioner in Wake Forest, NC right away. If receding gums are left untreated, your teeth may become loose or fall out, since the gums can no longer keep them in place.
REASONS BEHIND RECEDING GUMS
Unfortunately, receding gums are not an uncommon dental problem, particularly for men and women past 40 years old. There are many causes of receding gums, which will help your dental practitioner in determining how to manage yours. Some of the most frequently seen are:
- SMOKING OR CHEWING TOBACCO
The toxins in any tobacco products can damage your gums. Further, while they don't contain tobacco, the sticky components in vape pens and electronic cigarettes can also be harmful. Talk about quitting tobacco use with your general practitioner and then visit your dental practitioner to discuss your options to restore your oral health.
- BRUSHING TOO AGGRESSIVELY
While it might sound strange, scrubbing your teeth too much can also lead to gum recession. Over time, brushing too much or too harshly eats away at the soft tissue. Dentists all recommend using a brush with soft bristles when you clean your teeth and massage your gums.
- POOR DENTAL HYGEINE
Failing to floss and brush your teeth every day leaves food debris and plaque to accumulate, which can cause gum disease. Gum disease is a leading reason that individuals begin to experience receding gums. Flossing is especially important in removing this accumulation from your gums and stimulating blood circulation.
- CLENCHING OR GRINDING TEETH
Many people clench their jaws and/or grind their teeth if they are stressed at work or as they sleep (nocturnal bruxism). The pressure of grinding and clenching wears down your teeth and oral soft tissue.
- HORMONAL FLUCTUATIONS
The fluctuating hormones that women experience during adolescence, pregnancy, and menopause can lead to increased gum swelling and redness as well as heightened tenderness. It is especially important to prevent pregnancy periodontal disease, because it can negatively impact the health of both the mother and the baby.
Hereditary factors may make you vulnerable to receding gums, which means it will be more important to take extra care of your teeth and gums. Find out whether any close relatives have had gum disease and let your dentist know if anyone says they have.
- MALOCCLUSION AND CROOKED TEETH
Similar to bruxism, crooked teeth and malocclusion (bite misalignment) can put extra pressure on your jaws, teeth, and gums. See your dental practitioner in Wake Forest, NC to talk about orthodontic options like Invisalign to gently move your bite into the proper alignment.
- PERIODONTAL DISEASE
The most common cause of receding gums is periodontitis, the most advanced phase of gum disease. This inflammation of your soft tissue can cause gum recession if not properly treated.
METHODS OF TREATMENT FOR GUM RECESSION
To determine the correct treatment for your receding gums, your dental practitioner will first have to determine the cause. Receding gums caused by gum disease will be treated based on how serious your condition is. For patients who present with the first stage of gum disease, referred to as gingivitis, dentists typically perform multiple scaling and root planing (SRP) sessions. A noninvasive deep cleaning method, SRP therapy removes the buildup inside your gum pockets and evens out the enamel to prevent future buildup. If SRP deep cleaning is not enough to elevate your gum health, or if you are experiencing the second stage of gum disease referred to as periodontitis, your dental practitioner may perform gum surgery, or they might refer you to a gum specialist or oral surgeon. During this procedure, tiny, precise cuts will be created in your gums to reach further into your gum pockets and clean on your tooth roots. Both SRP treatments and periodontal surgery are often accompanied by a cycle of prescription antibiotics to clear any lingering bacteria. Following SRP treatment or gum surgery, your dentist will wait a bit for your gums to heal and regenerate on their own. If your gumline remains too high, gum graft surgery may be done. Gum grafts typically use tissue from different places in your mouth, for example, your roof palate, to increase tissue where needed along your gumline. Man-made and donor grafts may also be used for those who don't have adequate tissue to build a healthy gumline. Once you have healed from gum grafting, it is vital that you practice a good home oral hygiene regimen and have regular appointments with your dental practitioner in Wake Forest, NC for yearly dental check-ups and twice-yearly dental cleanings.
RESTORE YOUR GUMS
Your gums are the foundation of the wellbeing of your teeth, so you need to maintain your gum health in order to attain a brilliant, healthy smile. Set up an oral health exam with your dentist if you have questions about periodontal disease or gum recession. At DentalWorks - Wake Forest, our experienced staff of dental professionals provides diagnoses and treatment options for gum recession, including SRP therapy, periodontal surgery, and gingival grafting. Call our practice in Wake Forest, NC to schedule appointments for your family.