Receding gum tissue can be an issue especially as we get older. Normal healthy gum tissue will follow snugly against the conforms of our teeth. Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue recedes or pulls away from teeth exposing the root below. This creates an esthetic issue as well as a functional one. The roots of our teeth do not have a protective layer of enamel. This can make your teeth sensitive to hot and cold as well as increase your risk of tooth decay. Once recession occurs, this tissue cannot grow back to its original state. There are treatments to restore lost gum tissue and bring your smile back to its original healthy state.

What Causes Gum Tissue To Recede?

Several factors can cause our gum tissue to recede including:

Periodontal Disease (ranges from ginigivitis to advanced periodontitis) – Periodontal disease (also called gum disease), refers infections of the structures around the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease — gingivitis — the infection affects the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the tissues are involved. This inflammation occurs due to an accumulation of bacterial deposits called plaque.

Contributing factors of periodontal disease include:

-poor oral hygiene maintenance

-misaligned or crooked teeth

-damaged or faulty fillings

-bridges or partial dentures that no longer fit

-genetics

-hormonal changes due to pregnancy or oral contraceptives

-medications that cause dry mouth (xerostomia)

-certain immune disorders

-stress

-tobacco use

Periodontal Disease Stages

-Gingivitis causes gum redness, swelling, and sometimes bleeding. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.

Periodontitis is the advanced stage of periodontal disease and can cause the gums to recede. As the gum and connective tissues pull away from the tooth, a pocket forms between the tooth and gum, which begins to accumulate bacteria. Over time, the bacteria cause further damage and inflammation. If the gums recede too much, it may lead to bone loss, which can cause teeth to loosen or fall out over time.

Is Incorrect Brushing The Cause?

Maintaining a regular brushing and flossing regimen is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. However, using an incorrect brushing technique could actually contribute to receding gums. The part of the gum that comes into contact with the crown of the tooth is called the gingival margin. Brushing incorrectly or too hard can damage the gingival margin, possibly triggering gum inflammation and recession.

Incorrect brushing techniques can include:

-brushing too forcefully

-using a hard or medium bristled toothbrush

-brushing the teeth in a broad, horizontal motion

Teeth grinding and clenching

Some people grind their teeth together while sleeping. This motion of teeth grinding puts intense pressure on the gums, which can cause them to react by receding over time. Teeth grinding can also cause teeth to become loose in their sockets. Grinding creates deep pockets between the tooth and the gum, where bacteria can collect. These bacteria trigger gum inflammation, which can then worsen gum recession.

Injury

Sustaining direct trauma to the gum tissue may cause the gums to recede in that area. These injuries could include:

-during a fall or other accident

-during dental procedures

-while wearing ill fitting partial dentures

-trauma while playing contact sports

Treatments For Receding Gums

Scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planing is one of the first treatments for receding gums that a dentist will recommend. This procedure will remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline, where routine brushing cannot reach. Root planing removes plaque and tartar specifically from the roots of teeth. Following removal of plaque and tartar your dentist or hygienist will use special instruments to smooth the roots, which helps the gums re-attach to the tooth.

Gum Tissue Grafting

Your dentist may recommend gum graft surgery if your gums have severely receded to the point where surgical intervention is needed. During gum grafting, a surgeon will take a small piece of gum tissue from a different area in the mouth and transplant it to cover the exposed tooth roots. This gum tissue grafting helps prevent bone loss and the gums from receding farther. It can also protect the previously exposed tooth roots from decay and tooth sensitivity

Pinhole Surgical Technique

Pinhole surgical technique is a fairly new treatment for mild to moderate receding gums. Pinhole Surgical Technique is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no incisions and no suturing. It is a quick and effective treatment for gum recession that is virtually pain-free and requires only a very short recovery time. Patients can resume normal activities the same day as their procedure.

Prevention Of Gum Tissue Recession

-Practice good oral hygiene

The following oral hygiene tips can help avoid receding gum tissue:

-flossing between the teeth at least once per day preferably after each meal

-fluoride toothpaste

-brushing your teeth 2x/day using a soft bristled toothbrush

-using an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce bacteria and flush out debris

-choosing a size and shape of toothbrush that allows access to all parts of the mouth

-replacing toothbrushes at least every 2–4 months or as recommended by your dentist

-maintaining a regular schedule of dental appointments

-Wear A Mouthguard

Wearing a mouthguard at night can help prevent gum recession due to teeth grinding. Mouthguards create an even pressure across the jaw and act as a physical barrier to separate the top and bottom teeth. Mouthguards can be bought at your local pharmacy. A dentist can also make a customized mouthguard, which will provide a better fit and be much more comfortable and long lasting

-Replace Dentures That Do Not Fit

Partial dentures that once fit well can become incompatible with the mouth over time. This can happen for several reasons, including:

-the bone and gum ridges shrinking over time

-differences or changes in jaw alignment

-overall wear and tear of the partial dentures over time

Ill fitting partial dentures can rub and irritate the gums, causing the gums to recede around healthy teeth. People can prevent this by replacing partial dentures as needed. If you are concerned have your dentist evaluate your partial dentures at your next visit.

-Maintain Regular Dental Visits

Attending regular dental checkups is vital for detecting the early stages of gum recession. Routine examinations also allow your dentist to identify and replace any failing restorations or ill fitting partial dentures, which can contribute to receding gums.

Gum Recession Conclusion

Unfortunately once the gum tissues have receded, they cannot grow back on their own. With Advancements on treatment your dentist can reattach and restore gum tissue around the teeth. Remember to maintain a good oral hygiene program at home and seeing your dentist regularly can help prevent, slow, or stop gum recession. If you notice changes in your smile speak to your dentist to see what options are right for you.