What is Gum Recession?
By Roger B. Parkes, DMD on April 01, 2016
Ordinarily, only the enamel of the tooth is exposed, but during gum recession, the tissue surrounding the tooth is worn away, exposing the dentin that makes up the root of the tooth. This causes sensitivity, which is one of the first signs of gum recession. Other indicators that you may have gum recession is the appearance of your teeth being longer than before, or a notch above the tooth where the enamel stops and the exposed dentin begins.
The main cause of gum recession is periodontal disease: a bacterial infection in the gums that destroys the tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
Another likely cause is improper home care. Overly-aggressive toothbrushing can wear away enamel and healthy gum tissue. Insufficient brushing and flossing can lead to a tartar buildup between teeth that contributes to gum disease.
Additional causes include tobacco use, hormonal changes (such as those during pregnancy) and genetic factors. Also, certain physical activity can lead to receding gums. This includes wear from lip and tongue piercings, teeth grinding or clenching, and improperly aligned bite.
There are treatments available for gum recession. For patients with mild recession, deep cleaning can be enough to remove the hard tartar buildup below the gum line and allow the gums to reattach. There are other options available for more sever cases, including soft tissue grafting, and Dr. Parkes and Dr. Stewart specialize in this kind of periodontal care.
As always, the best way to prevent gum recession is with proper oral home care. Be sure to floss daily and use a soft-bristled tooth brush. See your dentist for regular professional cleanings, which allows your dentist to monitor the health and condition of your gums. Your dentist can also provide smokers with assistance with quitting.
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“Thank you for everything! You have a very friendly office where people greet you by name. Everyone makes me feel at ease and welcome as if I'm the only patient you have. I am extremely pleased with the outcome of my periodontal treatment. Kudos to Dr. Parkes and his staff.” Alex S.