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Receding Gums

How to Save Your Gums from Yourself

Receding gums can not only be painful, but they can affect your smile, and can eventually lead to tooth loss. When we study what causes gums to recede we find that sometimes it's our own behavior that's causing the issue. Ouch. Here's what we found. Recessed Gums

Aggressive Brushing

For me it was brushing too hard with a hard toothbrush. I started to feel that 'notch' between root and the crown as the gums receded away from the gum line. The exposed root started to hurt and kind of itch. Sometimes it even felt infected. I went to Dr. Reese who treated me with ozone therapy and then I started oil pulling with coconut oil."

Sometimes in the act of trying to keep our teeth clean we end up damaging our gums unintentionally. Thankfully there's some things we can do to stop the behavior that's causing gums to recede from bad brushing habits:

  • Use your non-dominant hand - your dominant hand can be unintentionally pushing too hard
  • Use a child's toothbrush instead of an adult toothbrush - it's usually smaller and softer
  • Brush in circles instead of side to side near your gums - this is easier on your gums

Gum Disease

My parents have a history of gum disease so I knew I had to take extra care to not eat too many sugary drinks and be sure to floss and stuff, but you know, I didn't do that. I used to drink at least a 32 oz. cup of soda every morning on the way to work and then not brush my teeth until the evening. Eventually my gums pulled away and started hurting."

Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession and studies show that 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth. Fortunately there are treatments for this:

  • Pocket reduction surgery to remove tarter from under the gums  - gums are lifted back and the tarter is removed
  • Soft tissue grafts - if gums have receded too far, tissue can be taken from other areas and grafted into your gums
  • Guided tissue regeneration - utilizes barrier membranes to direct the growth of new bone and gingival tissue

No matter how bad your gums are now, you still have options. Don't be afraid to have a dentist look at your gums to see what sort of treatments can help you prevent further recession or to help repair the gums that have already receded.

What Causes Receding Gums?

Receding gums is a common but potentially dangerous dental problem. One must know what causes receding gums so they can understand how dangerous the condition can be and prevent it from happening. It is also easily treatable if detected early – simply changing dental habits may stop the condition from becoming worse. What Causes Receding Gums

Most people don't realize they have receding gums because it occurs gradually. One usually notices that his or her teeth have become sensitive and they can feel a notch (indentation or incision) near the gum line. These are usually the early signs of receding gums.

Receding gums, also known as gum recession, is the process in which the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth, or the tooth's root. When gum recession occurs, "pockets," or gaps, form between the teeth and gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. A receding gum line can eventually lead to lost teeth over time if it isn’t stopped or treated.

What causes receding gums?

  • Periodontal disease - Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.
  • Genetics and Gender - Studies show that 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth. Fluctuations in female hormone levels, during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause for example, can make gums more sensitive and more vulnerable to gum recession.
  • Aggressive tooth brushing and incorrect dental care habits - This can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away and your gums to recede. Using hard-bristled toothbrushes can also hurt your gums.
  • Inadequate brushing and flossing makes it easy for plaque to turn into (tartar) — a hard substance that can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning — and when this builds up on and in between your teeth, it causes gum recession.
  • Smoking - Smokers are more likely to have sticky plaque on their teeth that is difficult to remove, which can cause gum recession.
  • Teeth grindingBruxism can put too much force on the teeth, causing gums to recede.
  • Crooked teeth or a bad biteMalocclusions put too much (wrong) force on the gums and bone, allowing gums to recede.

Receding gums can be treated

Gum recession is not something you want to ignore. If you think your gums are receding, make an appointment with your Dr. Reese. There are treatments that can repair the gum and prevent further damage.

Dr. Reese has been utilizing a Waterlase MD laser for tooth preparation and gingival treatments. This laser has a variety of extremely thin tips that can deliver laser energy into the diseased sulcus to disinfect the area of gum disease, remove smaller amounts of the diseased gum tissue, provide an atmosphere of improved healing, and offer a much less invasive and less painful recovery period. The diseased root surface is also treated by the laser energy to allow regeneration of the gum connective tissue to re-grow up the root surface which has been the ‘last frontier’ of regenerative periodontal therapy. These procedures are especially indicated in smokers who heal less favorably, and suffer more from gum disease than non-smokers.

If you are in the Indianapolis or Greenwood, Indiana area, call 317-882-0228 so you can schedule an appointment today!