If you look in the mirror and notice your teeth appear longer than they did before, it is probably due to something called gum recession. This condition does not only disturb someone’s smile but also causes sensitivity to teeth thus talking to your dentist about this is necessary to explore treatment options.
What Is Gum Recession?
In a normal healthy mouth, pink gum firmly covers the jawbone and the base of the teeth up until their necks, for a variety of reasons, this gum can be pushed back in a slow and gradual process which will leave the fragile part of the tooth (root) exposed, this part is very thin and it is not covered by the enamel in which makes it more prone to decay and tooth sensitivity.
What Causes Gum to Recede?
Having gum recession can be contributed to multiple factors:
- Age, most people aged 65 or more are more likely to develop gum recession.
- Physical pressure applied while aggressively brushing your teeth can lead to gum recession, thus dentists advise their patients to use soft bristle toothbrushes applied in circular motions rather than hard bristles toothbrushes with horizontal movement.
- Malpositioned tooth, a tooth that is not in the proper alignment with other teeth has a greater chance to have receded gum.
- Inadequate oral hygiene, plaque is a sticky layer formed of bacteria and food debris, normally plaque is removed with routine dental brushing, but if it is not properly removed it will harden and initiate gum inflammation, this inflammation with time will lead to gum recession exposing the root of the tooth.
- Certain personal habits can be considered as risk factors, such as smoking, using a dental pick, and grinding of teeth, all of which contributes to the development of gum recession.
- Genetics, if either of your parents has receding gums, most likely you will inherit this from them.
Signs and Symptoms of Receding Gum:
As we all know now, wearing gums is a slow gradual process that may take up years to fully form and be noticed, thus a lot of patients are not aware that they have this condition unless it affects their life in some way.
Some patients will notice their gum is receding when it is causing them sensitivity to hot and cold drinks, this will put them at a higher risk of accumulating plaques thus developing decay and bad breath.
On the other hand, some patients will notice that their smile is affected; teeth will appear longer and gaps will form between them, some will worry that this may progress and cause them to lose their teeth and thus become very conscious about it.
If you experience any of these symptoms or advancement of already existing symptoms, we highly encourage you to go to your dentist, to check if there is an underlying cause and help prevent its progression.
What Are The Treatment Options Available for Gum Recessions?
The first thing that should be implemented is regular follow-up with your dentist, so they can monitor and prevent further progression of your case.
If you are experiencing a mild case of gum recession, your dentist will offer non-invasive procedures, these include the following options:
- Demonstrate clear instruction on how to properly brush your teeth without harming them.
- The usage of varnishes and desensitizing agents: These materials will reduce the sensitivity of your tooth.
- Pink porcelain/composite: with the advancement in restorative material, pink fillings which are the same color as the gum will be placed to cover the exposed part of the tooth and to close the gaps where the gum has been pushed back.
- In the case of a malpositioned tooth, orthodontic treatment is mandatory, in which the tooth will be re-positioned with a slowly and steadily movement.
- Deep cleaning of the gums, if there was a severe form of gum inflammation, a deep thorough cleaning to remove all bacteria that are causing the recession is a must.
On the other hand, surgery is recommended in more severely receded gums, the dentist's only option is to go for invasive procedures to repair the damaged gum and cover the exposed root; a graft will be taken from another site of the patient’s mouth, then tightly placed on the gum recession site and left for tissue to heal.