Recession of the gums is the condition that involves loss of attached gum tissue at healthy levels along the smile. Rather, the gum tissue begins to creep slowly down the root of the tooth, exposing areas of the tooth that were not designed to withstand outside environment as well as compromise the stability of the tooth. As a result, areas of recession can result in tooth mobility, sensitivity, and tooth decay.
Gum recession can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the main causes include gum disease, orthodontics, aggressive toothbrushing, use of smokeless tobacco, and oral piercings. Basically, disease, irritation, or accelerated movement can cause the gums to creep further down.
There are a few ways dentists approach care for areas of recession. If recession is mild, the area may be treated with a fluoride varnish to prevent sensitivity as well as deter tooth decay. More moderate areas can present an aesthetic concern as well, which is why composite bonding is often used to cover those areas along the gumline. Severe recession can jeopardize the life of the tooth (and your smile), which is why grafting is often recommended. Gum grafting uses gingival tissue from another area of your mouth to cover the exposed roots of your teeth as it is re-attached in another location. Synthetic grafting material can also be used, eliminating the need for additional surgical steps to be taken.
Gum recession is not something to be taken lightly. It can cost you one tooth, or your entire smile, not to mention make your teeth extremely sensitive. If you’ve battled recession or noticed new areas developing, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Virginia Kirkland, North Point Periodontics
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