Have your gums been bleeding when you brush or floss? Have they been painfully sensitive? Have you noticed pockets opening up at your gumline? Have you been looking — literally — long in the tooth? If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from gum recession.
Yes, your gums may actually recede or pull away from the base of your teeth. If this condition is left untreated, your pearly whites will have nothing left to hold them in place and, eventually, they will fall out.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Gum recession may be caused by one — or a combination — of many factors.
- Teeth grinding or clenching may injure the gums and cause them to pull away. This often happens at night without you even realizing it. At Carmichael Dental Care, we can craft you a comfortable custom mouthguard that you wear as you sleep and that will prevent you from engaging in this damaging practice.
- Gum recession may also be caused by using a hard-bristled toothbrush and/or by overzealous brushing. Remember, your gums are sensitive, so always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure. Teeth and gums should never be scrubbed.
- In some cases, misaligned teeth may damage the gums.
- By a long shot, the most common cause of gum recession is periodontal disease. This inflammatory condition is caused by a buildup of harmful bacteria, plaque, and tartar. It makes the gums tender and swollen, and eventually causes them to recede from the teeth.
Is Gum Recession Treatable?
Receding gums are generally reversible. The earlier it’s caught, the easier and less invasive treatment will be. Here’s what you can expect:
- In very mild cases, you may not need special treatments at all. Excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits may enable your gums to heal.
- Tooth bonding can help cover those sensitive tooth roots that have been exposed. In this easy process, we take a tooth-colored composite resin, mold it over the base of the tooth, and harden it with a special light.
- Scaling and root planing is a deep-cleaning procedure that is performed under anesthesia. Our dentists will clean away plaque and tartar that’s built up on the teeth and under the gumline, plus smooth the tooth roots, making them more resistant to bacteria.
- Antibiotics can help reduce harmful bacteria.
- In severe cases of gum recession, you may require surgery. We can refer you to a specialist for a gum graft.
The best way to keep your gums in great shape and prevent painful and unsightly gum recession is to practice excellent oral hygiene at home and visit Carmichael Dental Care regularly for cleanings and exams. If you are due for your checkup, call us today at 334-600-1423.