Stop Receding Gums from Getting Worse

Receding gums are one of the most common conditions, particularly in patients over the age of forty, where the gums pull back from the surface of the teeth to expose the roots.  When gum recession occurs, spaces between the gums and teeth are created that allow harmful bacteria and plaque to accumulate.  If left untreated, tooth loss can result from the gum tissue and bone structures surrounding the teeth becoming damaged.  Given the frequency of occurrence and harmful damage associated with receding gums, patients should be knowledgeable of the signs of gum recession as well as the preventative measures and treatments available to combat the condition.

Knowing the symptoms of receding gums is imperative as failure to address the condition early, can lead to significant, and generally irreversible, damage.  Common symptoms of gum recession include pain at the gum line, red or swollen gums, and bleeding after flossing or brushing.  Patients may also notice that their teeth appear longer when gums pull back.  Should the gum recession be advanced enough that teeth roots are exposed, patients will notice significant sensitivity when eating or drinking.  In severe cases, tooth loss can occur as the gums and bone structure are too weak to hold teeth in place.

Gum recession can occur from any number of reasons.  Poor oral hygiene is perhaps the leading cause of receding gums as failure to adequately clean the teeth and gums can lead to tartar buildup and periodontal disease.  Improper or over aggressive brushing techniques can also contribute to recession of the gums as they damage the surface of the teeth and gums.  Smoking, genetics, aging, and certain medical conditions can also lead to recession.  Finally, patients that take medicines that cause a dry mouth, can also be susceptible to gum recession as inadequate saliva can make the mouth more prone to bacterial infections.

How advanced a patient’s gum recession is will play a large role in the treatment options a dentist will recommend.  In mild cases, deep cleaning procedures, known as tooth scaling and root planing, can be performed to rid plaque and tartar buildup below the gum line allowing the gums to heal.  The dentist may also apply antibiotics or prescribe mouthwash to clean the affected area.  When gum recession becomes more advanced, consulting a periodontist to explore surgical options may be needed.  There are a number of surgical options available including bonding, flap surgery, and gum grafting.  These aggressive treatments are generally recommended in cases where scaling and root planing procedures are not viable and aim to restore appearance and functionality of the affected areas wile preventing further recession.

When caught and addressed in its early stages, gum recession is treatable.  Because time is of the essence, patients are encouraged to have dental check-ups at least every six months and get cleanings from a hygienist during the appointments.  If a patient suspects gum recession, they should contact their dentist as soon as possible.  Additionally, patients should practice sound oral hygiene routines, avoid substances that damage the teeth and gums, and be knowledgeable of any medical conditions that could contribute to gum recession.

More on Gum Recession : Symptoms for Gum Recession