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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.


Periodontal disease is common and unpleasant ranging from its earliest form of ginigivitis all the way to advanced periodontitis. According to ever mounting evidence, it could also play a role in a whole host of seemingly unrelated health problems.Periodontal Disease is a slow, progressive disease that has the capability to destroy our oral and systemic health. Many of the underlying symptoms of periodontal disease take time to manifest themselves and are often ignored. It is important to recognize these signs and symptoms as periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal disease shows itself in many different forms including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases. Each type of periodontal disease has its own set of characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt, individualized treatment by your dentist to help slow the progression and hopefully halt the subsequent bone and gum tissue loss. Risk of periodontal disease increases with age. For younger people, dental caries are a more important risk for tooth loss, while for older people, periodontal disease is the more important risk factor. Studies have shown that over 70% of all Americans aged 65 and older have some form of periodontal disease.

The underlying mechanisms behind periodontal disease progression are relatively well understood, and newer research shows that this health problem may play a role in the development of a number of other conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.

Periodontal Disease And Effects On The Brain

Neurological conditions and periodontal disease are not normally associated together even though they are in close proximity to one another. Recent scientific research has found a link between periodontal disease (and associated tooth loss) with cognitive function. These researchers found that the risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost. So therefore they concluded that periodontal disease is related to cognitive decline. The research also linked periodontal disease with an increased build up of beta amyloid in the brain. If you are unaware this is the neurological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Similar studies have also found evidence that one type of bacteria found in advanced periodontitis can also be found inside the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Heart Disease Linked To Periodontal Disease?

This area is not 100% linked but correlations can be made between the two. The two diseases share risk factors such as alcohol abuse and using tobacco products. It is believed the 2 diseases are inter related thru inflammation. Inflammation is the bodies protective response to an irritant or pathogen. If left unchecked it can lead to damage to tissues and organs. There are two thoughts on this. One is that the inflammation in the oral cavity ultimately sparks inflammation in the cardiovascular system. The other is that the bacteria related to periodontal disease is also related to heart disease. Bacteria in the gum tissues can enter the blood supply and reach distant destinationsin the body, including the heart, where they can cause inflammation and damage. Researchers have shown evidence that this is possible. Researchers have shown that P. gingivalis (a gram-negative oral anaerobe and considered as a main etiological factor in periodontal diseases) is the most commonly found bacterial species in the coronary artery.

Increased Cancer Risk

Periodontal disease has been found to be associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk. Studies have also found a strong link between periodontal disease and overall cancer risk. The link was also significant between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer.

Conclusion

While we are learning new things about the links in our body every day, we need to follow what our doctors and dentists tell us to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Periodontal disease is a slow moving, progressive dental disease that can slowly sneak up on us. Many ignore the warning signs simply because many of them are painless. It is important to recognize these warning signs and symptoms as periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. There are many different types of periodontal disease including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases.  Each of these types of periodontal disease has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt treatment by a dentist to help halt subsequent bone and gum tissue loss.

Common Periodontal Disease Signs And Symptoms

-Bleeding Upon Brushing, Flossing, Or Eating. This is one of the most common signs that periodontal disease is active. It is often also one of the most overlooked signs. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease. As the bacteria and toxins build up in the mouth, the body responds by activating the inflammatory process, rushing our cells to stop the attack. This will cause the gum tissues to become inflamed and red. It is important to note that bleeding gums can also be something more sinister like leukemia and blood platelet disorders.

-Unexplained Pain Or Swelling. This can be caused by a periodontal infection. At this point it is essential that you get to a dentist as soon as possible. If the infection is left unchecked it will cause damage to the gum tissues and the bone supporting your teeth. It can also be carried to other parts of the body through the blood stream.

-Persistent Bad Breath (Halitosis). Bad breath can occur from many things but peristent bad breath can mean progressive periodontal disease . As the gum tissues are destroyed, the areas where the oral bacteria can flourish will increase causing a foul odor in the mouth. There are other causes of chronic halitosis that should also be ruled out.

-Change In Your Smile Or Loose Teeth. As periodontal disease advances, your teeth will loosen and shift out of position. This will effect the way your teeth fit together and even alter your smile.

-Teeth Become Longer In Appearance. As periodontal disease progresses it will lead to destruction of the bone and gum tissues. This will show up as gum recession. Once the gum tissues pull back they expose more of the tooth and root, making them appear longer than before.

-Pus Drainage. This goes along with the periodontal infection mentioned previously. An active periodontal infection will create pus which can ooze out from between the teeth and gums causing a bad taste and malodor.

Avoiding Periodontal Disease

Dental and Periodontal Examinations

Your dentist will complete a thorough examination with x-rays and periodontal charting. Notations about the visual condition of the gum tissue will also be recorded. In its earliest stages the gum tissue is usually red, puffy, and painless or slightly tender at this point. Plaque and tartar will more than likely be present to some degree. A periodontal probe will be used to measure around the teeth to see if your periodontal disease has progressed and to what degree. It is important to note that once bone loss has occurred you now have a more advanced form of periodontal disease.

Following the examination, your dentist will recommend a course of treatment for your periodontal disease. This will include a professional cleaning along with extra home care instructions. The goal in treatment is to reduce the inflammation and not allow progression of the disease. An antibacterial rinse (example, Listerine) may also be recommended for at home use. Your dentist may also recommend repair of misaligned or crooked teeth to aid you in your home care efforts. Your dentist may also recommend a more frequent schedule(every 4-6 months) to control your periodontal disease.

Following removal of plaque and tartar, bleeding and tenderness of the gums should begin to subside within 1-2 weeks after professional cleaning and careful dental hygiene. Warm salt water or antibacterial rinses can also reduce gum inflammation. Taking an over the counter anti inflammatory medication can also aid in pain and inflammation reduction.

Healthy gums should look pink and firm with no bleeding upon brushing, flossing, or eating. Good oral hygiene must be maintained for your whole life, or periodontal disease will come back and possibly advance past the gingivitis form into advanced periodontal disease (also called periodontitis).

Steps to prevent periodontal disease should include:

-Routine dental visits. Usually recommended every 3- 6 months for examination and professional cleaning.

-Brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day.

-Rinsing with an antiseptic rinse as recommended by your dentist.

Consult your physician if the bleeding is severe or chronic, gums continue to bleed even after dental treatment, or you have other unexplained symptoms along with the bleeding from your gums. These could all be the sign of a more serious condition than periodontal disease and should be checked out as soon as possible.

Periodontal Disease Conclusion

Periodontal Disease in its beginning stage is very treatable and should be easily controlled. Keeping periodontal disease from progressing to more advanced stages should be your goal. It takes a regular effort by both you and your dentist but it can be done. Getting control of periodontal disease will not only help your overall health, but will keep you smiling!

Periodontal disease is a progressive disorder that if left untreated will worsen over time. Many people simply ignore the warning signs or just do not know them. Educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease is a good first step to taking control of the disease and it’s progression.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is a serious and chronic infection of the gum tissue that can result in the staged breakdown of the tissue and the deterioration of bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. This infection process begins when bacteria and plaque form a sticky bio film on your teeth. Biofilm causes a chronic inflammation of the gum tissue.  Periodontal disease will continue to progress if the biofilm is not reduced or removed.   Maintaining proper dental care and hygiene are the most important steps in prevention and halting of the disease. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Studies show that somewhere between 75% and 95% of all adults are suffering some stage of periodontal disease.

The stages of periodontal disease include:

-Gingivitis ( inflammation of the gum tissues). This is the initial stage of periodontal disease. This is easily reversible and is the mildest form of periodontal disease. Symptoms include red, swollen (or puffy) and inflamed gums due to plaque-bacteria build-up. The gums may also bleed easily during brushing or eating of hard foods. During this early stage of periodontal disease, the process can be reversed with at home dental hygiene and professional cleanings to remove the biofilm, and tartar. Most of the people with this early form of periodontal disease, do not even know a dental problem exists. This is a crucial period for the patient, as the condition can be reversed (since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place have not yet been affected) at this point if it is recognized and properly treated. Gingivitis is commonly seen during puberty, pregnancy, times of high stress, and menopause, as hormones can make you more prone to inflammation. As for the rest of the population, poor hygiene is generally the most common cause, followed by medication and certain medical conditions.

-Periodontitis. As the disease state progresses, it is now becoming harder to treat and manage. The difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that gingivitis only infects the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth while the periodontal disease process also invades the bone that provides support and stability for the teeth. The bacteria eventually invades past the initial the gum line area and destruction begins to the point that gums may begin to separate or pull away from the teeth (taking away support and connective fibers with it). What results are called periodontal pockets. These pockets allow for bacteria to invade below the gum line.  They eventually become loaded with toxic plaque and bacteria that moves and works its way deeper. It begins to erode the bone and connective fibers below the gum line. A patient’s bite will be affected (as the teeth shift or loosen) by the lost support which then affects chewing and other functions.

-Advanced Periodontitis. As the periodontal disease process advances further, the fibers and bone that provide support for the teeth are destroyed. At least half of the bone support (if not more) will have broken down at this late stage of periodontal disease. It does not grow back naturally. Teeth may begin to loosen. Deep root cleanings and surgical intervention are typical at this stage. This may include cleaning with a periodontal microscope, (Perioscope), grafting of tissue, bone, placement of growth factors, (Emdogain), periodontal antibiotic regimen (Periostat), placement of antibiotics directly into pockets, (Arestin), open flap surgery, and, possibly tooth removal.

Periodontal Disease Warning Signs

-Puffy, Swollen Gum Tissue. This is a hallmark sign of gingivitis and periodontal disease in general. Your body’s natural response is to fight off this infection caused by excessive untreated debris. It does this by bringing healing components to the area through the blood vessels. The gums will remain this way until the irritant is removed namely the plaque and bacteria building up on your teeth and below the gum line.

-Bleeding Gums. Once the tissues are puffy and receiving extra blood flow to fight off the disease process. This leads to inflamed gum tissue that will bleed easily upon brushing or even eating.

-Presence Of Periodontal Pockets. As the disease process progresses and the bacteria and plaque build up the gum tissue will begin to separate from the teeth creating ever larger pockets where bone will be lost. These pockets become very difficult to clean on your own and necessitate further professional help.

-Infection And Pus. Once there has been significant advancement of pockets, bleeding ends, and infection begins. Pressing on the gums, flossing or probing by the hygienist tends to release pus into the mouth.

-Long Looking Teeth. As we lose bone support, the gum tissue falls back and exposes the root of the tooth. This gives the appearance of longer teeth.

-Persistent Bad Breath. While this can be a sign of other more serious medical conditions it is a hallmark of periodontal disease progression. Much of the odor has to do with the infection process, and tartar.

-Loose Or Drifting Teeth. Once periodontal disease has advanced, the support tissues are diminished. The further the advancement, the looser the teeth become.

Periodontal Disease Conclusion

Periodontal disease is a progressive disease. There are many signs and stages to help you to be aware of  it’s progression. The disease process involved in periodontal disease can be quite aggressive making it harder and harder to control and treat. It is best to stay ahead of that process by being diligent with at home dental hygiene and maintaining a regular schedule of professional cleanings.