Gum Recession

Gum recession is a growing problem for the people we see. It can happen for a number of reasons some of which are related to your habits and some which are related to your genetics. The habit types are probably the easiest to change as they only require modification.

Brushing: You should always use a soft toothbrush head. Hard ones are very abrasive against the gum and increase the chance of recession. Often a hard brush will brush away some gum and not brush the gum beside it effectively so you get the worst of both worlds. It is also important not to scrub your teeth. They should be massaged gently with the brush to gently lift off plaque.

Biting nails/chewing things: Sometimes people come in with recession on just a single tooth which can be from a habit they have of rubbing off the gum in the area. This should be easy to resolve but giving up something you are used to can be very difficult as we appreciate.

Post-orthodontic Recession

Sometimes when teeth are moved the gum can move down the tooth somewhat. If this happens it usually doesn’t progress after braces are completed and only needs treatment if there is sensitivity.

Genetics

Some people have thin gums and thin bone around the teeth naturally. This is something outside of our control but is a large cause of recession.

Piercings

These can cause very severe gum recession particularly if you develop the habit of pushing the bar or ring against your teeth.

Denture Clasps

Dentures can sometimes cause a lot of recession. They are sometimes described as gum strippers by some dentists! A loose denture can move several millimetres during chewing which can push the gum back and cause enormous damage to the gum around the teeth.

If you have a loose denture make sure you get it adjusted or ideally changed to something better for your mouth such as dental implants.

Tooth Grinding

If you are clenching or grinding your teeth (usually in your sleep) it can lead to severe recession of the teeth. When you clench you temporarily cut off the blood supply around the gums and this can lead to recession. Getting a nightguard fitted can prevent this problem entirely.

Diseases

Gum disease is the most common cause of gum recession and causes massive loss of gum around the tooth usually ending in tooth loss. Gum disease is not a normal part of getting older and neither is recession. It is entirely preventable with good hygiene treatments and care.

Treatment

Oftentimes recession will not require any treatment at all. If the tooth is not sensitive and the recession is very minor this will often be the case.

If the recession is a bit more severe and there is sensitivity we will often recommend an anti-sensitivity toothpaste such as sensodyne. If this doesn`t work we have some special bonding agents we can place which seal the dentine to stop sensitivity.

For worse cases again we can take some gum from the palate or from another source and surgically place it to form some new gum tissue. This is usually the last method we will choose but it can have excellent results.

If your recession is getting worse you definitely need to act on it as over time it can lead to death of the nerve in the tooth causing pain and infection. It can also lead to loss of the tooth itself and looseness of the tooth. The appearance of the teeth can also be affected as the gums are like the frame around a picture. If the gum recedes the teeth can look too long and prematurely aged.

Take your first confident steps to a full smile today

At Seapoint Clinic we make sure that our patients have all the available information on hand to help them make the choice to regain that beautiful smile. If you would like further information or to book an appointment, please contact us. Our team look forward to hearing from you.