When people talk about oral health care, more often than not, the focus of the discussion centers around the teeth. However, good oral health should include the gums which are susceptible to a few issues, the most common of which are receding gums.
What are receding gums?
Gum or gingival recession refers to the condition where the margin of the gum tissue wears away, thus exposing the tooth’s root. When this condition occurs, you will notice a gap between the teeth and the gum line. In turn, this makes the affected teeth and gums vulnerable to bacterial build up. Left untreated, gum recession can lead to further problems like damage to the tissue and bone structure of the teeth, and even tooth loss.
Gum recession is a fairly common oral health problem. Often, people with this problem are not aware of it. It is only when patients experience tooth sensitivity, or when they notice that their teeth appear longer than normal, that they are made aware of this problem.
Gum recession is caused by different factors:
People who brush and floss aggressively are prone to this dental problem. This is why dentists recommend using toothbrushes with soft bristles. Furthermore, patients should learn how to brush their teeth instead of haphazardly scrubbing these.
Genetics also plays a large role in this problem. If one or both of your parents have receding gums, it is highly likely that you will succumb to the problem, too.
If your teeth are not in proper alignment, you may also be vulnerable to gum recession. Gum recession may also be caused by traumatic injuries.
If you grind your teeth while sleeping, you can suffer from other dental problems, including receding gums.
Finally, gum recession may also be caused by poor oral hygiene. If you do not take good care of your teeth and gums, you may suffer from periodontitis, which in turn causes receding gums.
Receding gums can be treated. For mild cases of gum recession, your dentist will use a treatment called deep cleaning or tooth scaling and root planing. This treatment can effectively remove the buildup of plaque and tartar on the affected teeth as well as the roof surfaces that have been exposed. Your dentist will also ask you to switch to a different toothbrush and teach you how to properly brush your teeth. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to effectively deal with any remaining bacteria.
If deep cleaning will not suffice, you may have to undergo a surgical procedure. Three surgical procedures used in treating gum recession are soft tissue graft, regeneration and pocket depth reduction.