Gums form the pink to your pearly whites! They are the coral-pink soft tissue that forms a collar-like covering around our teeth and covers the underlying bone. In fact, the jaw bone and the gums together, support our teeth. For many reasons, including ageing, the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing more of the white teeth and eventually the roots. This phenomenon is called gum recession. Many people are concerned when they notice that their teeth appear longer due to gum recession and wonder how to treat receding gums!
Symptoms of Receding Gums
Did you know that receding gums is a very common dental condition? In fact, many people are actually unaware that they already have gum recession. While in some cases gum recession may be confined to 2-3 teeth, in most cases, it is a generalised phenomenon. Before we get to how to treat receding gums, we must be able to identify the condition with its symptoms.
Symptoms of receding gums include:-
- Teeth that appear longer
- Roots of the teeth get exposed
- Teeth become loose
- Increased sensitivity
- More food and plaque accumulation on the lower part of the teeth
Why do gums recede?
In most cases, the symptoms usually appear only when gum recession has reached a moderately advanced stage. Gum recession can occur due to many reasons. To understand how to treat receding gums, determining its cause is absolutely essential.
Here are some reasons why gums recede:
- Gum disease: Poor oral hygiene leads to gum disease and this is the main cause of the recession. Failure to brush and floss your teeth properly results in bacterial accumulation, which cause gum disease.
- Improper tooth brushing: Did you know that there are tooth brushing techniques that one must follow while performing the act every day? Using a hard bristled brush and/or brushing aggressively can lead to gum damage and subsequent recession.
- Hormonal changes: Changes in female hormones during pregnancy or menopause increase the susceptibility of gums to infection and eventually recession.
- Genetic causes: Around 30% of the population is susceptible to gum diseases due to their genetic make-up. These individuals are, therefore, also prone to gum recession.
- Habits like tobacco chewing and smoking can cause gum recession
- Mal-aligned teeth- It is a very common thing to see gums recessed in individuals who have crooked or mal-aligned teeth. When teeth are not properly aligned, there is no bone formation between the teeth as we would expect in ideal cases, therefore, gums also recede to the bone level.
How to Fix Receding Gums?
Now, let’s answer the pressing question in your mind – “How to treat receding gums?” As mentioned earlier, in order to treat gum recession, one must remove the cause first.
In mild gum recession cases that are caused by the accumulation of plaque and calculus, your dentist can easily reverse the condition by performing cleaning or deep cleaning. In cases of mild gum recession due to improper tooth brushing, correcting the brushing technique by avoiding excessive force on your gums can stop the progression of the condition.
In moderate gum recession caused by gum disease, your dentist will perform deep cleaning and root planning to remove all the accumulated plaque and calculus from inside your gums and from your root surfaces. Antibiotics and/or antibiotic mouthwashes may also be prescribed for use after the procedure is completed.
But, how to treat receding gums when it is in more advanced stages? For cases which are more severe or are complicated by other dental conditions like bone disease, your dentist may suggest surgery. Common surgical methods used to treat receding gums include:-
- Flap Surgery – In severe cases of gum recession, the plaque, calculus and other debris are not easily accessible for cleaning using routine procedures like deep cleaning. So, your dentist folds the gum tissue, cleans the debris and bacteria and secures the gum tissue snugly back. This procedure not only prevents the progress of the disease but also helps the gum regenerate to a large extent.
- Gum Grafting – One procedure that most patients are unaware of when they think of ‘how to treat receding gums’ is gum grafting. This procedure is done in advanced cases of gum recession wherein a large part of the gum has receded from 1-2 surfaces of a tooth.
Gums are grafted from another site in the mouth and placed on the concerned area. This grafted tissue heals and covers the tooth, thereby restoring normalcy.
- Bone Grafting – Many a time, gum recession is accompanied by bone recession too. This is because the gum levels are determined by the bone levels and any dip in bone levels causes gum recession.
So, another treatment of how to treat receding gums includes adding bone powder to increase the bone levels around the teeth and allowing the gum levels to rise with the bone levels.
Can you prevent receding gums?
With all the information we gathered today, it is clear that gum recession is a very commonly occurring dental problem. Now that you know how to fix receding gums, one must also know how to prevent it.
Some ways to prevent receding gums are:-
- Avoid using a hard bristled brush
- Do not brush too hard
- Avoid plaque and tartar build-up by flossing and brushing regularly
- Maintain good oral hygiene
- Visit your dentist for a complete dental check-up and learn more about how to treat receding gums
Have some more questions or queries about how to treat receding gums or how to fix gums that have receded? Visit your nearest Sabka Dentist clinic today and consult with our team of dental experts!