Your mouth is a complex system of teeth, muscles, and tissues. There are many things that can go wrong with this system over time, but one of the most common warning signs is receding gums. Receding gums may result from gum disease or other oral issues such as tooth decay. If you have receding gums, it’s important to see your dentist right away for an evaluation.
What are receding gums?
When gums pull away from the teeth, it is called receding. This can happen in one or more areas of your mouth. The gums may recede so much that the roots of your teeth are showing. Sometimes they will recede only a little bit, making them look red and swollen. Either scenario may be caused by gum disease, tooth decay, or another condition.
Causes and risk factors of receding gums
A few things can increase your risk of developing receding gums. Smoking and chewing tobacco are two of the biggest culprits. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to gum disease, which is a leading cause of receding gums. Genetics may also play a role in whether or not you develop receding gums.
Aggressive brushing and flossing can also cause gums to recede. If you use a hard toothbrush or brush too hard, you may be causing more damage than good. Be gentle when brushing and use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Diabetes is also a risk factor for receding gums. If you have diabetes, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly.
Hormonal changes in women may cause gums to pull away from the teeth. This can happen during pregnancy or while taking oral contraceptives.
Immunocompromising conditions like HIV or AIDS can also cause receding gums. If you are living with HIV or AIDS, proper oral hygiene is important for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Some medications can lead to dry mouth, which is a common cause of receding gums. If you are taking any medications, be sure to ask your dentist or pharmacist about the potential for dry mouth.
Symptoms of receding gums
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s time to see your dentist:
-Gums that are red and swollen
-Gums that are receding from the teeth
-Teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold
-Pain or discomfort when chewing
-A change in the fit of dentures or braces
Diagnosis of receding gums
Your dentist will need to look at your mouth to confirm that you have receding gums. He or she will first check your teeth’ condition and make sure they are free from tooth decay, cavities, or other issues. They will also examine how deep the recession is on your gums. Your dentist may scrape some of the plaque and tartar from your teeth to check for gum disease.
Your dentist will begin by examining your teeth, gums, and mouth. He or she will check for any signs of oral diseases, such as cavities or gum disease. Your dentist may scrape the plaque and tartar off of some teeth to test for gum disease.
If your dentist suspects that you have periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease, they may order X-rays to ensure your teeth are healthy. Periodontitis can lead to bone loss in the jaw, making it more difficult for your dentist to treat.
Treatment of receding gums
There are a few different treatment options for receding gums. The first step is to correct the underlying cause, such as gum disease or tooth decay. Once the cause has been treated, your dentist may recommend one of the following procedures:
If you have gum disease, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to cure it. Other medications may be given to increase saliva flow or reduce inflammation in the gums.
Other medications like topical antibiotic gel, antiseptic gels, antimicrobial mouthwash, and enzyme suppressants may be prescribed to reduce the risk of gum disease.
If the recession is severe, your dentist may recommend a surgical procedure to restore the gum tissue. There are a few different surgical procedures that can be performed by gummy smile surgery, including:
-Gingivectomy- This surgery removes excess gum tissue that has been pulled away from the teeth.
-Gingivoplasty- This surgery repairs damaged gum tissue.
-Veneers- Dental veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that can be used to cover up stained, discolored, or cracked teeth. Veneers may also be placed over receded gums to look more natural.
Surgery for gum recession usually requires local anesthetic and sedation since the patient must remain still while it is performed.
Complications of receding gums
There are a few potential complications of receding gums, including:
-Tooth decay- If the gums pull away from the teeth, it can leave the tooth vulnerable to cavities and other types of tooth decay.
-Gum disease- Receding gums create an opening for bacteria to enter the mouth and cause gum disease. This can result in pain, swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums.
-Permanent teeth damage- If your gums are severely receded around your permanent teeth, your dentist may recommend early treatment before exposing them to excessive amounts of bacteria. Without proper care, this could cause problems during tooth development or result in the loss of permanent teeth.
-Change in appearance- Receding gums can make your teeth look longer and more prominent. This may not be aesthetically pleasing to some people.
-Difficulty chewing- If the recession is severe, it can make it difficult to chew food properly.
-Bad breath- Gum disease can cause bad breath.
Preventing receding gums
There are a few things you can do to help prevent receding gums:
-Brush your teeth twice a day with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
-Floss your teeth once a day
-See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings
-Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks
-Improve your diet by eating vegetables and fruit
Receding gums are fairly common, but fortunately, they can usually be treated easily. Talk to your dentist about the best way to care for your teeth and gums.
In conclusion, receding gums are when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth pulls away, exposing more of the tooth root. Receding gums can lead to tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease). There are a few different treatment options for receding gums, including medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes.