Many people do not realize they have gum recession. This condition is a very gradual progression in which the gum line slowly recedes from the tooth, showing more of the tooth, even the root. The first sign that is typically noticed is the onset of tooth sensitivity or pain.
When the gum pulls back from the tooth it leaves the tooth open to bacteria. This bacteria grows and eventually causes damage to not only the tooth, but the bone and other soft tissue in the area. Left untreated this condition will lead to tooth loss. Effective intervention and prevention can limit the degree, even reverse some of the signs, of this condition.
There are several reasons a person will develop gum recession:
- Aggressive tooth brushing, brushing too hard, using too hard a bristle, or brushing too often.
- Brushing the wrong way, strokes should be vertical or circular.
- Injury and/or trauma, including piercings of the lip and/or tongue
- Genetic disposition.
- Grinding or clinching teeth.
- A misaligned bite or crooked teeth.
- The use of chewing and/or smoking tobacco.
- Hormone changes.
- Poor oral care.
- Periodontal disease.
The degree of gum recession will determine the process that will be used to stop and optimally, reverse the effects of this condition.
In the event that Dr. Kristen Ritzau finds signs of gum recession the first step is to have a deep cleaning performed. During this visit and subsequent cleaning, plaque and tartar that has worked its way on the tooth and root will be removed. This process is often referred to as planing or scaling.
Once thoroughly cleaned, areas of root that have been exposed may also be smoothed. This process makes it harder for the bacteria to return and thrive in the same location. Depending upon the condition of the mouth, Dr. Ritzau may also recommend a course of antibiotic use as well.
For individuals with more advanced stages of gum recession it may require surgical intervention to reverse the effects. Common procedures used are:
- Pocket reduction
- Soft tissue graft
Preventing gum recession is possible for the majority of individuals. Practicing good oral care is the key to this approach.
Having regular dental examinations and cleanings plays an important role in prevention and treatment of gum recession, so call Dr. Ritzau today to set-up an appointment if you have any of the above symptoms: 949-498-4110.