Gum Recession: Causes and Treatments
Are your gums looking red and puffy, or feeling tender and prone to bleeding? Are your teeth looking longer? Are they becoming more sensitive to sensations like hot and cold?
These are all signs of receding gums, and that means it’s time to see a dentist. Without proper treatment to catch receding gums early, this issue could lead to exposed tooth roots and more serious problems. At the Michael Bixby Center for Advanced Dentistry in Red Bank, cosmetic dentistry specialist Dr. Michael Bixby offers gum recession treatment on its own and as part of a full mouth reconstruction package.
What Causes Gum Recession?
There are actually several factors that can play a role in gum recession. The most common causes of receding gums include:
- Gum Disease: Many cases of gum recession are caused by periodontitis, also known as advanced gum disease. As gum disease advances, it can start to eat away at the tissue of your gums and jawbone. As this happens, your gums can start to pull away from the roots of teeth.
- Poor Dental Hygiene: This cause actually goes hand in hand with periodontitis, as one tends to leads to the other. A failure to brush and floss regularly can allow bacteria time to thrive and build up, causing inflamed and receding gums.
- Overly Harsh Brushing or Flossing: This may sound counterintuitive, but overly enthusiastic tooth brushing or flossing techniques can actually injure your gums, cutting into them and causing gum recession and tooth erosion in the long run. Brushing and flossing are always important, but make sure you’re applying the right amount of pressure and using the right strength of brush for your mouth.
- Smoking or Chewing Tobacco: The smoke from cigarettes and the direct contact of dip or chewing tobacco can both be irritants to your gums. Chewing tobacco can be especially damaging, causing constant irritation and causing gum recession or other dental problems over time.
- Lip or Tongue Piercings: While it depends greatly on their placing, metal from a tongue piercing or labret can steadily rub against gums and cause irritation and gum recession over time.
- Genetics: Some patients may be surprised to learn that, in certain cases, receding gums are hereditary. Thin gums that are prone to irritation and receding simply run in some families.
While these are the most common causes of gum recession, they are by no means the only causes. Other known sources of receding gums can include tooth grinding (bruxism), changing hormones, stomach acid, scurvy, and sensitivity to the chemicals in toothpaste. During a consultation, your dentist can assess your particular situation and determine the most likely causes for your receding gums.
What Is the Treatment for Gum Recession?
Treatment for gum recession depends heavily on the cause. If your dentist determines that overly harsh brushing is the cause, for example, the first order of business will be to change your toothbrush. If the culprit is an irritating lip piercing, your dentist will likely recommend that you take the piercing out. If the cause is gum disease, your dentist may recommend deep cleaning methods to remove hidden pockets of plaque and tartar buildup.
Sometimes the cause of receding gums is less clear, calling for different treatment options. At our restorative and cosmetic dentistry office, gum recession treatment is often included in full mouth reconstruction. In this case, Dr. Bixby and his team may include ginvival surgery techniques such as gum grafting in the reconstruction process.
Learn More about Gum Recession Treatment Today
If you are suffering from receding gums, take action. Contact the Michael Bixby Center for Advanced Dentistry to schedule an appointment with our capable staff and learn more about treatment options for your receding gums today.