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Receding Gums

A guide to receding gums

When it comes to maintaining oral health, many individuals may believe this is something that can only be carried out at home through regular brushing and flossing, as well as the consumption of a healthy diet.

While this may be the case for the most part, visiting a dental professional on a regular basis is also vital due to the expertise and experience that can be shared during a simple check-up.

On top of this, dentists are able to spot any minor problems during the early stages, which could be the difference between taking simple preventative measures initially or parting with a lot of money for expensive corrective procedures.

Gum recession is among the problems that may be tricky for patients to notice on their own, particularly because this process usually begins very slowly and gradual erosion is difficult to spot.

By the time it has been noticed, some people may find it is too late to take the necessary steps to stop the issue from worsening.

Is this a common problem?

Receding gums can become a very relevant issue among individuals over the age of 40, while the tissue probably started to deteriorate before this, meaning there should be a number of opportunities for them to be diagnosed and for treatment to begin.

What are the main causes?

Many people will find their gums begin to reduce in size if they brush their pearly whites too hard. While cleaning teeth thoroughly is a good thing, it is vital for the task to be carried out in the correct way to ensure the best results are achieved.

Patients are advised to seek guidance from their dentist about the right techniques to use that can ensure the tissue is not damaged and also hear details about an appropriate toothbrush to utilise.

A more serious cause of this ailment is gum disease, which develops when plaque and bacteria have been allowed to collect on the teeth, then attack the mouth while becoming embedded into gaps between the area and the roots of the pearly whites.

This problem usually requires urgent treatment from a dental professional, involving a thorough clean of the teeth and clearing out the hardened plaque from between the gums.

Another common cause of recession is certain orthodontic treatments. This can occur when pearly whites are moved into a more desirable position, as these processes usually result in the roots of the teeth becoming more prominent.

In addition, smoking and drinking alcohol can cause the problem to worsen, while women who are experiencing hormonal changes – such as puberty, pregnancy or the menopause – are more vulnerable to recession.

Those people who grind and clench their teeth during the night could be putting too much force on their pearly whites, which can also lead to receding gums.

Furthermore, the ongoing trend of having piercings in and around the mouth has marked a rise in the number of cases of this problem, as the jewelry used can rub the tissue and irritate them to the point that the gum is worn away.

How is the problem treated?

Mild cases of gum recession may be treated by a simple deep cleaning of the affected area by a dental professional. During this process – also referred to as scaling and root planning – plaque and tartar that has been left to build up on the pearly whites and below the gum line is carefully removed.

Following this, the exposed root area is smoothed to make it more difficult for bacteria in the mouth to attach itself, while antibiotics are often prescribed to get rid of any remaining harmful substances.

Individuals whose ailment cannot be treated using this course of action – usually due to an excess loss of bone or deep pockets – may require gum surgery to repair the extensive damage that has been cased.

What type of surgery is required?

The following procedures are used to treat gum recession:

Soft tissue graft – This is the most common course of action used to reverse the symptoms of this ailment. It involves the incision of a flap of skin on the roof of the mouth, which is then attached to the area surrounding the exposed root.

After this is completed, the cut is stitched back together. In some cases, a dentist is able to graft tissue near the tooth and not remove anything from the palate, which is referred to as a pedicle graft.

Pocket depth reduction – During this procedure, the dentist folds back the affected tissue, removes harmful bacteria from the pockets and then secures the area back in place over the pearly white.

Regeneration – In cases where the bone supporting the teeth has been destroyed due to gum recession, a procedure to regenerate the material is usually recommended. During this course of action, a professional will fold back the area and remove the bacteria, then a membrane, graft tissue or tissue-stimulating protein is applied to encourage the body to naturally recreate bone in that region.

How can gum recession be prevented?

One of the main ways individuals can prevent gum recession is to take extra care of their mouth. This will entail brushing and flossing every day, while booking an appointment with a periodontist at least twice a year is recommended.

In addition, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and asking for assistance with brushing technique could be helpful.

Those people who have a misaligned bite or grind their teeth could talk to their doctor for advice about how to correct the problem.

Other things to consider include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Keep an eye out for changes that occur in the mouth

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