Over 60 percent of adult patients seen at Guelph Village Dental have gum recession. Also known as gingival recession, gum recession occurs when the gum tissue creeps down the tooth, exposing the roots of the tooth. Gum recession doesn’t always need treatment, but it does require monitoring and care to prevent it from getting worse.
Guelph Village Dental’s Dr. Ketan Mistry says all new patients have a full dental check-up that includes measuring how far the gums have recessed from the teeth. This allows the dentist to note any increase in recession annually. Recession is measured in millimetres, but there is no specific measurement that indicates whether a patient requires treatment. To make that determination, Dr. Mistry assesses a patient’s symptoms, such as tooth sensitivity, as well as their gum health.
“When it becomes a day to day issue and they can’t enjoy cold drinks or ice cream or is affected the attachment of the tooth, then treatment may be necessary,” Dr. Mistry notes. “Also, with gum recession you are losing attachment to the teeth, exposing areas that are more susceptible to cavities and harder to clean.” Gum recession exposes the roots of the teeth, which don’t have the protective enamel that coats the areas of the teeth that are normally visible in your mouth. Gum recession also creates gaps between the teeth and gum line, which can trap food and make it easier for bacteria to grow.
As we told you in this previous blog post, the treatment of choice for gum recession is Pinhole Gum Grafting, a kind of lunchtime gum lift that creates less post-operative discomfort than older methods.
How To Prevent Gum Recession
The gradual pulling away of the gums from the teeth often starts in the early teenage years, but you can stop gum recession from getting worse. One of the most common causes of gum recession is overly aggressive brushing.
“Before Pinhole Gum Grafting is needed, there’s a monitoring process,” Dr. Mistry notes. “We check what’s causing the gum recession. We want to try to eliminate those habits before we treat it and stabilize things at a level that does not require treatment.”
Gum recession can also occur as a result of teeth that are not aligned. Another common cause is clenching and grinding of teeth.
To prevent or stop gum recession naturally, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth and gums gently. Speak to your dentist about a night guard if you are prone to grinding your teeth during sleep. Regular dental cleaning of the exposed root area is important to prevent cavities from forming.