Your gums (or gingivae) are the foundation of your smile. They are composed of dense pink tissue that surrounds each tooth. Your gums attach to your jawbone and tightly encase the roots of each tooth. Since they are living tissues with blood vessels and a mucous membrane, the gums can become infected or deteriorate under certain circumstances. When the gums shrink down or pull away from the teeth, it leaves the fragile tooth roots more exposed to danger (plaque, bacteria, infection and decay). This is called gum recession.
While gum recession is typically visible, it may be so gradual that you don’t notice it. Many patients first recognize receding gums when their teeth start to become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. This is a primary warning sign of gum disease and an indication you need to visit your dentist for a proper diagnosis.
Why is it important to let a dentist diagnose gum recession?
Gum recession seems pretty straightforward, and lots of people have it. If I’m not too bothered with it, why should I visit my dentist. The truth is, gum recession can be caused by a number of factors, and not all of them are harmless! Left untreated, your gum recession could worsen enough to cause loose teeth or lead to other dental complications.
Gums can recede for the following reasons:
• Natural aging process
• Over-brushing or brushing too hard
• Hormonal changes
• Poor oral hygiene
• Periodontal disease
The culprit that needs immediate treatment
Gum disease is the one of the leading causes of gum recession, and it is one that needs prompt attention. If your gums are receding due to periodontal disease, this means they are infected and the deep pockets that have formed as the gums have pulled away will only harbor more bacteria and lead to further infection. Without intervention, your receding gums may lead to the destruction of the underlying bone, which means tooth loss could be in your future.
In most cases, the gums can be restored to health after gum disease through a treatment called scaling and root planing. This clears out the bacteria and smooths the roots of the teeth to encourage the gums to reattach. The sooner you notice gum disease, the easier it is to treat. In addition to gum recession, watch out for red, bleeding and swollen gums, as this often occurs before the gums pull away.
Do your teeth look longer than usual? Are you experiencing sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks? Let your dentist evaluate your gum recession Even if you do not have gum disease, there are treatment options to restore your gums to proper height and health. Most importantly, we can stop the culprit to your gum recession. Call Gilreath Dental Associates to learn more about gum recession treatment in Marietta!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,