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Causes of Gum Recession

Craig Goldin DDS Oct 16, 2013

Troy Gum RecessionGum recession is a very common dental problem, but because it develops slowly, most people don't know they have it. Gum recession is when the gum tissue around the teeth pulls away or wears down, exposing more of the tooth or root. This leads to exposed roots and "pockets" between the teeth and gum line where bacteria can easily build up and cause disease. If left untreated, it can lead to gum disease and severe tooth damage and even bone loss. You don't want to ignore gum recession. Learn what causes it, the signs and symptoms, and how it's treated at our practice in Troy.

What Causes Gum Recession?

Several factors can lead to gum or gingival recession, such as:

  • Periodontal (gum) disease and infection
  • Genetics (with 30 percent of people being predisposed to gum disease)
  • Aggressive tooth brushing
  • Insufficient brushing and flossing
  • Hormonal changes (during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause)
  • Tobacco usage
  • Eating disorders (such as bulimia)
  • Grinding and clenching your teeth (bruxism)
  • Crowded, overlapped, or crooked teeth
  • Misaligned bite
  • Lip or tongue piercings (which can irritate and wear away gum tissue)
  • Allergy or sensitivity to sodium lauryl sulfate (found in most toothpastes)

Do I Have Receding Gums?

In most cases, gum recession happens gradually over the years. Because the condition progresses slowly, you may not notice that you're losing gum tissue until another symptom, like those listed below, begins to bother you.

  • Sensitive teeth
  • Teeth that appear longer than normal
  • Exposed roots of the teeth
  • Exposed dark edges of dental crowns
  • A notch in a tooth that can be felt at the gum line
  • Change in the tooth color
  • Increasing spaces between your teeth
  • Cavities below the gum line
  • Puffy, red, or swollen gums (gingivitis)
  • Bleeding gums during brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath (halitosis)

How Is Gum Recession Treated?

Gum recession is best treated in the earliest stages. That's why regular checkups are critical, especially for patients over 40 years of age. With regular visits and deep cleanings, we can keep an eye on your condition and ensure it doesn't progress and get worse.

Mild gum recession can be treated in a dentist’s office by deep cleaning the affected areas. During the deep cleaning - also called tooth scaling and root planing - our specialized hygienist will carefully remove plaque and tartar that has built up below the gum line and then smooth the tooth root to promote reattachment of the gum tissue and make it more difficult for bacteria to accumulate. The deep cleaning is performed with local anesthesia for your comfort; you can also request nitrous oxide or IV sedation.

In some cases, we may apply an antibiotic below the gum line to kill any remaining harmful bacteria. Your cosmetic dentist may also recommend gum treatments, such as grafting.

In cases of serious gum recession and tooth loss, gum surgery or dental implants may be required. We offer expert periodontal surgery and dental implant services at our office as well.

Learn More about Gum Recession

Don't neglect your sensitive or bleeding gums. At the Cosmetic Dentistry Institute, we can treat your gum recession comfortably and thoroughly, helping to preserve your beautiful smile. If you think your gums might be receding, please contact our office today. We look forward to meeting you and getting your gums back on the right track!

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Troy, MI 48083

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