A common problem faced in dental practices is the treatment of gum recession. Many patients aren’t fully aware of the effects of gum recession or how it can happen. Since gum recession occurs gradually, many patients don’t identify that their gums are receding until serious damage has already been done to their oral health. By reading below, you can learn more about gum recession, how it is identified, and how we can help you treat it.
Gum recession is when the gum tissue that surrounds your teeth starts to wear away or pull back to reveal more of the tooth’s root or the tooth itself. As your gums recede, gaps and pockets begin to form between the gum line and your teeth which allows for bacteria to build up. This bacterium can lead to gum disease if left untreated which can result in tooth loss, tissue damage, and bone damage. Due to this, it is important to identify and treat gum recession as quickly as possible. Here is a short list of things can cause gum recession:
One of the first signs of gum recession is tooth sensitivity. Some patients first notice it when a tooth starts to look a little longer than normal. You can also start to feel a notch near the gum line when gum recession is beginning. Ideally, a dentist is best trained to identify gum recession by looking at a patient during an oral health examination, so it is a good idea to maintain and continue regular check-ups in order to catch gum recession when it begins. If you suspect you might have gum recession due to some of the previously mentioned signs that you’re displaying, please schedule an appointment with us immediately.
If the gum recession is mild, it can be treated through a deep cleaning of the affected area. Known as a tooth scaling and root planing, this procedure involves the periodontist removing the tartar and plaque near the root surfaces and teeth. The exposed gum area is then smoothed over to make it harder for bacteria to get into pockets in the mouth. Any remaining bacterium is treated through the use of antibiotics. If the gum recession has resulted in the loss of bone or the pockets are too deep in the gums, then gum surgery may be necessary to repair the damage. The three procedures that are often used for gum recession treatment include:
A pocket depth reduction is the default procedure used which involves folding back any gum tissue that is affected by the recession and then removing the harmful bacteria from the pockets that have accumulated. From there, the gum tissue is then secured back over the root of the tooth. This reduces or eliminates the pockets. Bone regeneration is used when the bone supporting the teeth has been lost. This is similar to a pocket depth reduction, except that a regenerative material like a graft tissue or membrane is applied to assist with the body’s natural bone and tissue regeneration. Once the material has been placed, the gum tissue is secured over the area. Finally, a soft tissue graft is used when a flap of skin is cut from another portion of your mouth (such as the roof) and then stitched to the gum tissue and the exposed area. This allows for the exposed area to be reduced or eliminated in size. Prior to this, the same cleaning process used in a pocket depth reduction is utilized.
While most people focus on the health of their teeth, it is important to take care of the health of your gums too! The health of your teeth and the health of your gums are integrally linked. Periodontist Dr. Karl A. Rose and the team at Periodontal & Implant Associates of Greater Washington will do everything possible to keep your gums and teeth happy and healthy. If you’re looking to make an appointment to get your gums and teeth examined, schedule an appointment today!