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The Common Causes of Gum Recession and Your Options for Treatment

By Eugene D. Stanislaus on July 05, 2014


A dentist and dental hygienist at work with a patientAt Brooklyn Heights Dental®, we believe in providing patients with beautiful smiles as a means of achieving total wellness. That's why we stress general dental care and restorative care with an aesthetic edge to it. By offering the latest in cosmetic and restorative dentistry treatments, we're better able to meet the diverse needs of our patients.

The combination of cosmetic and restorative concerns is especially important when it comes to the health and beauty of a patient's gums. We'd like to use this opportunity to consider a common periodontal health issue that many people misunderstand: gum recession.

About Gum Recession

Gum recession refers to the loss of gum tissue along the gumline, exposing more of a tooth's root structure. This makes a tooth more vulnerable to cavities and decay, and can increase the chances of tooth sensitivity and eventual tooth loss as well. It's important that you speak with your dentist as soon as possible should you notice issues with tooth sensitivity as this tends to be the first sign of gum recession.

Gum Recession and Its Link to Periodontal Disease

One of the most common causes of gum recession is periodontal disease. Gum disease refers to the bacterial infection of the gum tissue; this same bacteria is responsible for bad breath and tooth decay. There are three different stages of gum disease. From lest severe to most severe, these stages are:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

In addition to gum recession, gum disease also leads to discolored gums, bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, tooth misalignment, and eventual tooth loss.

Gum Recession and Poor Dental Hygiene

Another common cause of gum recession is poor dental hygiene. On the one hand, the lack of brushing and flossing can lead to an accumulation of plaque resulting in gum disease.

Another important dental hygiene factor to consider is aggressive or overly abrasive brushing of the teeth. This damages the gum tissue and can lead to gradual recession of the gumline over time.

Other Causes of Gum Recession

While gum disease and dental hygiene problems are among the most common causes of gum recession, the dental problem can also be caused by the following:

  • Use of tobacco products
  • Tooth grinding (bruxism)
  • Friction from lip or tongue piercings
  • Changes in hormones (predominantly pertains to women)

Treatment Options for Gum Recession

Treating gum recession really depends on the cause of the recession. The proper treatment needs to be carefully tailored to the needs of the patient.

If the gum recession is the result of gum disease, the first step of treatment is getting the periodontal infection under control. This can be accomplished through a combination of antiseptic rinses and antibiotics. The severity of the patient's gum disease will determine the ideal options for medication and dosage.

Once any periodontal disease is under control, the primary treatment for gum recession is grafting surgery. This will involve the use of donor soft tissue or artificial gum grafts to be placed along the diminished gumline, replacing the absent tissue and improving overall periodontal health in the process.

Tips for Preventing Gum Recession

There are plenty of things that you can do to prevent gum recession from occurring. This includes the following simple tips:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth every night (ideally after every meal)
  • Quit using tobacco products (or simply don't start)
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Discuss Your Options for Improving Your Periodontal Health

If you would like to learn more about all of your options for advanced dental care treatment and how we can help your smile look its very best, we encourage you to contact our advanced dental care center today. During your visit to Brooklyn Heights Dental®, we will make sure that you receive the best possible care to enhance the appearance and health of your smile.

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