Have you ever heard of the phrase “long in the tooth”? Or maybe you’re more familiar with descriptions like “toothy smile”. What do they mean?
These expressions mean one thing: you are experiencing gum recession. Essentially, the gum tissue is pulling away from the teeth, exposing more visible surfaces of the teeth. This is known as gum recession.
Do your teeth appear longer? Or perhaps your teeth feel sensitive when you drink very hot or cold drinks. Find out all about gum recession here, and see what your periodontist in Etobicoke can do to prevent gum recession from worsening.
What is gum recession?
Gum recession is a type of gum disease. As mentioned above, it’s when the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth. When it worsens, the gum tissue pulls back so much that the roots of the teeth are exposed. This makes your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and decay.
Symptoms of Gum Recession
Unfortunately, gum recession is often a slow process. You likely won’t notice it happening right away until it’s well underway and you experience these symptoms:
- Exposed roots of the teeth, causing tooth sensitivity to heat, cold, and even sweets
- Pain or discomfort along the gum line
- Red or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Mouth sores
- Pain or bleeding when brushing and flossing
- Pain or sensitivity during dental cleanings.
If left untreated by a periodontist in Etobicoke, gum recession can cause teeth to feel “wiggly” and fall off, as well as bone loss.
Causes of Gum Recession
Gum recession can be caused by a number of factors, most of which are related to poor oral hygiene and health habits. In other cases, gum recession can happen due to genetic factors, such as thin gum tissue.
- Brushing aggressively
- Poor oral hygiene, causing plaque and tartar buildup that lead to periodontal disease
- Trauma or injury to the gums
- Misaligned bite
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Lip and tongue piercings
How to Manage and Treat Gum Recession
When left untreated, gum recession has serious consequences on your oral health. Further complicating this is the fact that receded gums cannot grow back. However, there are many ways to manage the symptoms of gum recession, along with periodontal procedures such as gum grafting to rehabilitate receded gums.
How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity Due to Gum Recession
Sensitive teeth are often a telltale sign of gum recession. These cause discomfort, especially when you’re drinking hot or cold drinks, and eating sweets. Sensitive teeth indicate that the roots of your teeth have been exposed as gum recession causes the protective enamel to wear off.
To alleviate this symptom, your periodontist can apply fluoride varnish and other desensitizing agents to reduce sensitivity. They may also recommend using a desensitizing toothpaste at home, with ingredients such as potassium nitrate, stannous fluoride, arginine, and strontium chloride. Finally, they may also use numbing agents during dental cleanings.
Gum Recession Treatments
Gum recession can be mild, moderate, or severe. Depending on the degree of gum recession that you’re currently experiencing, your periodontist may recommend either nonsurgical or surgical treatments. However, keep in mind that in most cases, gum recession is best treated surgically, through gum grafting.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Gum Recession
- Topical antibiotics
- Scaling and root planing, or deep dental cleaning performed under anesthesia to remove bacteria in the gum line
- Dental bonding, which covers the exposed tooth root and improves the appearance of a receded gum line
- Orthodontics, which corrects a misaligned bite that’s causing crooked teeth and an uneven gum margin.
Surgical Treatments for Gum Recession
1. Gum graft surgery
Gum grafting is the most widely recommended treatment for gum recession. Periodontists recommend it for its ability to provide long-lasting results, beginning with rehabilitating the area where gum tissue has receded.
In gum grafting, your periodontist will take tissue from another part of the mouth, such as the roof, the tissue beneath the roof of the mouth, or gum tissue from adjacent teeth that need treatment. If you don’t have sufficient tissue in your mouth, your periodontist may also recommend the use of a donor graft.
Once they have harvested tissue, your periodontist will graft or attach it onto the affected area and suture it in place. Gum grafting essentially replaces lost gum tissue once the graft heals and successfully attaches to the affected area.
2. Pocket reduction surgery
Gum recession may create pockets or gaps between where gum tissue should be and the teeth. If the pockets are too deep and you’ve suffered bone loss, your periodontist may also recommend pocket reduction surgery.
3. Bone regeneration
This surgical procedure is similar to deep cleaning performed during scaling and root planing. The difference is, your periodontist will not only fold back the gums and clean the affected area, but they will also apply a material that stimulates regeneration. Then, they will place the gums back over the roots, allowing the material to work and rehabilitate lost gum and bone tissue.
Treat Gum Recession at Periodontal Associates
Are you suffering from the symptoms of gum recession? From tooth sensitivity to exposed roots, gum recession can have serious consequences on your teeth and the underlying bone when left untreated. That’s why at Periodontal Associates, we’re here to tell you more about how gum recession affects your oral health, and what you can do about it.
Our team of periodontists in Etobicoke bring vast experience, skills, and certifications needed to tackle gum recession. From your consultation to treatment, you can count on us to provide all the information you need and keep you as comfortable as possible. Based on the degree of gum recession that you’re currently experiencing, we’ll recommend the best treatment that restores the healthy appearance and thickness of your gums.
Want to find out the best gum recession treatment for you? Talk to our periodontists in Etobicoke to learn more about gum recession treatments.