You may be surprised if notice your gums don't cover your teeth as much as they used to. This condition is called gum recession. It is caused by various factors, but your dentist can help you remedy the situation. Here are some of the things that cause gum recession and how you can treat it.
Causes Of Gum Recession
Receding gums can be caused by an injury to your teeth or gums. The condition could also be caused by teeth that are out of alignment or even genetics. A common cause of receding gums is aggressive brushing. It's best to use a brush with soft bristles and use a gentle, circular motion rather than scrubbing your teeth straight up and down. Grinding your teeth at night can also lead to this dental problem. You may grind your teeth and not even know it because you're asleep. However, your dentist can tell if you're a tooth grinder when he or she gives you an oral examination.
Another very common cause of gum recession is gum disease. Tartar and plaque build up on your teeth and eventually get under your gums along with bacteria. This infection causes your gums to pull away from your teeth. The more your gums pull away, the longer your teeth look. If you have bleeding or sore gums when you brush, you could have gum disease, so you should see your dentist before your receding gums get worse.
How Receding Gums Are Treated
The treatment for receding gums depends on the cause. Brushing lessons from your dentist along with recommendations for a good toothbrush might help if the cause is over-brushing. If grinding your teeth is to blame, your dentist may recommend you wear a mouth guard at night while you sleep. The dentist can make a custom guard that fits comfortably enough that it doesn't keep you awake. If gum disease is the cause of your receding gums, you'll have to have the condition treated. This could entail planing and scaling, which is deep cleaning of the teeth. This type of dental cleaning scrapes tartar and plaque out from under the gums.
The unfortunate news is that gums don't grow back. If your gum recession is severe, the only treatment option might be surgery. Your family dentist may recommend you to a gum specialist for an evaluation. The surgery for gum disease usually involves grafting new tissue onto your gums to return them to their normal position. The donor tissue may come from your own gums, your soft palate, or a tissue bank. It takes a few weeks to heal from this surgery, but once complete, your teeth will not look quite so long, and the roots of your teeth will be protected from bacteria. This could save your teeth and prevent bone loss in your jaw.
You can develop gum recession and not even realize it. That's one reason you want to have regular examinations and cleanings by your family dentist, such as Martin S. Spiller DMD. Your dentist will catch problems in the early stages so you can be treated and avoid the need for painful and expensive surgery.