What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession, also known as gingival recession, plagues many of our patients in Brookline and Pembroke, MA. It’s when the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth starts to wear away or pull back, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root. Receding gums may be an implication of something more severe like gingivitis or periodontitis.
Gum recession is a very common problem. A lot of people don’t realize that they have it because it happens so gradually. The first sign of gum recession is typically tooth sensitivity. Also, a tooth may look longer in size due to more of the tooth or the root showing since the gum line is pulling back. Unfortunately, when gum recession occurs, it forms gaps in between the gumlines and teeth which makes it easy for bacteria to settle in and cause infections and diseases. If left untreated, the supporting bone structures and tissue can be severely damaged and may result in tooth loss. If this were to happen, a bigger procedure such as dental implants might be required in order to preserve the rest of the teeth. Here are some examples of gum recession causes:
- Genetics – sometimes, it just runs in the family.
- Aggressive tooth brushing – if you brush your teeth the wrong way, it can cause tooth enamel to wear away and cause your gums to recede.
- Inadequate dental care – Poor brushing and flossing can lead to a buildup of tartar on and in between your teeth that only can be removed by a professional dental cleaning. If left untreated, it can cause gum receding.
- Tobacco Products – Smokers are more likely to have sticky plaque on their teeth and cause gum recession.
- Lip or tongue piercing – Jewelry can rub and irritate the gums to the point that the gums wear away.
- Grinding and clenching teeth – This can put too much force on the teeth and cause the gums to recede.
- Hormonal changes – Female hormone levels fluctuate during a woman’s lifetime (puberty, pregnancy, menopause) can make gums more sensitive and susceptible to gum recession.
- Periodontal diseases – A bacterial gum infection that destroys gum tissue and supporting bone that holds teeth in place. This is the main cause of gum recession.
- Misaligned bite or crooked teeth – When teeth do not form an even bite, too much force can be put on the gums and bones and this can also make gums recede.
If you think your gums are receding, make an appointment with your dentist. Gum recession is not something you want to ignore. There are treatments for gum rejuvenation that prevent further damage such as our new pinhole surgery technique and the more traditional soft tissue augmentation.
For any further questions on gum recession, contact our Brookline, MA and Pembroke, MA office. We’d love to assist you!