Gum recession is the movement of the gingiva in a position that reveals more tooth surface. It can be localized to a few tooth or generalized involving all the teeth. As a result of the movement, the roots of the teeth are exposed, which are highly sensitive. Also, gum recession creates additional space for food accumulation, which is not only unappealing to look at but also unhygienic.
In this article, we’ll go over a few tips for stopping gum recession.
The best way to avoid gum recession is to get regular check-ups with a dentist after every six months. Brushing should be done properly with the lightest force twice daily especially at bedtime. For effective and comfortable brushing, a soft bristle toothbrush is recommended. In addition, it isn’t enough to brush teeth twice a day. Flossing is also extremely important and should be done at least once daily. It removes food particles from areas where the brush cannot reach such as below the gum line and in between the teeth.
Gum recession can be decreased by teaching the patients correct brushing technique. For patients with gum recession, the brush should be placed in such a way that half of the bristles are present on gum line and half on the tooth surface. Gentle, short, back and forth vibratory motion is recommended, followed by movement of the brush towards the chewing surface of the tooth. This technique stimulates the gingiva and precludes further tissue destruction.
If your teeth are misaligned, you should ensure getting proper alignment with the help of braces because there is a risk of developing gum recession otherwise. In addition, destructive habits such a holding a pencil in between the teeth should be avoided. Patients tend to do such things when they are occupied with some kind of thought process. One needs to be mindful of such habits because these lead to problems like gum recession.
The chief cause of gum recession is plaque-induced gingival inflammation. Aggressive tooth brushing in a horizontal direction damages the free gingiva and enables it to recede. In addition, abnormal position of the tooth in the mouth, trauma such as by placement of foreign objects in between the teeth such as pencil or pins, use of hard bristle toothbrush, smoking, and various dental procedures can initiate gum recession.
Physiologic factors are also associated with gum recession. For instance, aging is one factor that can cause gum recession. As the patient ages, the ability to perform physical tasks declines to a greater extent. For instance, failure to brush properly or using an aggressive hand for brushing could be injurious to the tooth and encompassing soft tissues, increasing risk of causing a gum recession.
Chewing food sometimes results in accumulation of food along the gum line and into the sulcus and brushing is not always adequate in complete removal of food from within the sulcus. This leads to food particles causing irritation and inflammation of the gingiva, a condition known as Gingivitis, normally characterized by redness, swelling and bleeding from gingiva. If not resolved at an earlier stage, it eventually leads to deepening of the sulcus with involvement of the attached gingiva. This loses its connection with the tooth and ultimately pulls back, exposing more tooth surface. The result is gum recession.
Treatment of gum recession highly focuses on eliminating the cause. In case of plaque and calculus, periodontal scaling and root planning is advised to the patient. With the help of instruments, calculus is removed, which otherwise could not be removed by brushing alone. Root planning is simply the smoothening of tooth surface so that it is less receptive to food accumulation. It is generally a painless procedure, however some discomfort can be felt which is indicative of local anesthesia use. Sensitivity is generally exaggerated after this procedure, which can be normalized with the use of fluoride. Fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes are also prescribed for a certain period of time. Once scaling is done, patients should be motivated to keep their teeth clean.
In case of severe gum recession, gum graft is routinely used. Part of gum is taken from another area of mouth and is placed in the defect. This is most commonly done in the front teeth due to aesthetic issues. However it is an expensive procedure. Gum recession once treated gives a healthier and confident smile!
Gum recession is not a big deal if caught at an earlier stage and treated appropriately.