Gum Recession Causes and Treatments
By William Stofer on June 23, 2014
Your gums are rarely the center of attention, but they are the unsung heroes of oral health.
Gums safeguard teeth by creating a physical barrier to bacteria. But gum recession opens the door to bacteria, offering easy access to tooth roots and bones that support your teeth. Unchecked, gum disease can eventually cause teeth to loosen and fall out.
If you suspect gum recession, you should seek treatment to prevent unnecessary damage. Drs. William B. Stofer and Jason D. Hemphill provide a comprehensive range of dentistry services at Dental Solutions in Warsaw, including gum recession treatment and restorative dentistry treatment to repair damage.
Gums are the soft tissue covering tooth roots and the bones that support your teeth. Your gums form a tight seal around your teeth, sealing out bacteria. However, if you do not brush after meals and floss daily to remove food particles, plaque can form on teeth. When plaque collects, it releases toxins that inflame the gums, a disease called gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, an infection that painlessly destroys the gums and bones around your teeth.
Causes of Gum Disease
Poor oral health care is a major cause of gum disease, but other factors can make a person more prone to this destructive infection, including:
- Genetics. Studies estimate that 30 percent of the population may be genetically predisposed to gum disease, which leads to gum recession.
- Tobacco Use. Any form of tobacco makes people more prone to plaque buildup, which introduces the toxins that lead to gum recession.
- Hormones. Women are more susceptible to gum recession due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause.
- Mouth jewelry. Lip or tongue rings can wear away tooth enamel and erode gum tissue.
- Aggressive tooth brushing. Though poor oral health care can lead to gum disease, brushing your teeth and gums too hard can also wear away gums and tooth enamel.
Treatment for Gum Recession
Treatment for gum recession will depend on the severity of the disease. Mild cases may need only scaling and root planing. Scaling is a deep cleaning below the gum line to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria. Root planing smooths jagged surfaces where bacteria collect.
Advanced gum disease and gum recession may require more aggressive surgical intervention. Surgical options include:
- Flap Surgery (Pocket Reduction Surgery). Flap surgery is a more extensive form of scaling and planing. The gum tissue is lifted to allow deep cleaning of teeth roots and smoothing of crevices where bacteria can collect. The gums are then positioned so they fit snugly around the tooth to prevent bacterial invasion.
- Soft Tissue Grafts. When gum recession exposes the root, grafting new gum tissue over the root can protect it.
- Bone Grafts. If bone has been destroyed, grafts of bone can be used to restore this important support for teeth.
Unfortunately, though gum disease is common, it is often difficult for a patient to detect. That is why regular checkups are so important. If you are concerned about gum disease, please contact us for a personal assessment.
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