Healthy gums are light pink, free of pain, and fit snugly around the visible part of the tooth. When your gums recede, they pull away from the tooth. This exposes a greater surface area of the tooth, including the root.
Gum recession is a type of gum or periodontal disease. It can cause mild to moderate pain and increase your risk of other oral health problems. Gum recession is one of the most common dental health issues you can experience.
It’s also one that’s often preventable. If you’re concerned about gum recession or want to know more about gum recession rehabilitation, here’s what you need to know.
Preventing Gum Recession
Your gums will not grow back after they’ve receded. The only way to correct the problem is to undergo surgical grafting.
You can do things to manage the pain and health risks of recession, and there are also things you can do to prevent your gums from receding in the first place.
One of the best ways of preventing gum recession is to understand the causes of the condition, many of which are preventable. For example, the most common causes of receding gums include:
- Periodontal disease/poor oral hygiene
- Harsh or aggressive brushing
- Jaw clenching
- Teeth grinding
Injuries to the gums can also cause gum recession.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, refers to poor gum health. Gum recession is one of several types of gum disease.
Gum disease occurs when the gums, the soft tissue into which teeth are embedded, become inflamed, infected, or damaged. The inflammation is almost always due to the accumulation of bacteria called plaque. Factors that increase your risk of gum disease include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Damaged or faulty fillings
- Crooked teeth
- Poorly fitted dentures or dental bridges
- Hormonal changes (pregnant women have a higher risk)
- Genetic predisposition
- Dry mouth
- Smoking or other tobacco products
- Down syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
Gum disease occurs in two stages.
First, you’ll experience swelling, redness, and mild to moderate bleeding during the first stage. In the second stage, you’ll experience mild gum recession.
A pocket usually develops between the gum and tooth, and this pocket is susceptible to collecting bacteria. This leads to further inflammation and possibly infection. Over time, gum disease can lead to bone loss; eventually, you can lose the affected tooth or teeth.
Rehabbing Gum Recession with Proper Dental Care
Some of the best things you can do to rehabilitate damaged gums have to do with dental care. Improved dental care not only helps when gum recession is due to poor oral health, but it’s also effective for slowing the progression of gum recession when it’s caused by injury or a genetic factor.
Everyone should brush their teeth at least two times per day. It’s also important to brush properly.
Although it might seem as if rigorous or intense brushing would help to keep teeth cleaner, the truth is that aggressive brushing puts you at risk of gum recession.
To brush properly, use a soft-bristled brush and brush in a gentle, circular motion for two minutes. Make sure you touch the entire surface of each tooth and the gum line.
Avoid medium or hard-bristled brushes and brush in a broad, horizontal line with too much pressure. It’s also important to replace your used toothbrush regularly, usually about every three months.
Grinding or Clenching
Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw causes various issues related to dental and overall health, including increasing your risk of gum recession.
If you do either of these things, especially if you are doing it in your sleep, your dentist can help you choose a night guard that will help you prevent the problem.
One of the best things you can do to prevent or halt the progression of gum recession is to stop smoking and using all tobacco products.
Gums cannot grow back. However, there are things you can do to prevent the problem from worsening.
Gum Recession Rehabilitation Treatments
There are several gum recession treatment options available to help rehab your gums. In most cases, the goal is to prevent recession from worsening. The only way to correct it is to undergo grafting surgery. In some cases, surgical treatments are the only option.
Proper dental care is your most essential tool for rehabbing gum recession. Make sure you are brushing two times daily using proper brushing techniques. It might help to switch to a sensitive toothpaste if brushing is painful.
Also, be sure to floss once a day. And finally, keep up with regular dental cleanings and exams. Two visits per year are usually enough, but some dentists recommend more frequent cleanings for people with gum recession.
They might also suggest deeper cleanings, such as gum scaling. Scaling and root planing are procedures that remove built-up tartar and plaque from below the gum line.
You cannot reach this buildup through brushing. Your dentist will also use a special tool to smooth the roots of the teeth during root planing to help your gums reattach to the tooth.
Gum Recession Surgery
Unfortunately, some people require surgery to correct gum recession. Surgery is performed not only for health reasons but also to improve the appearance of your smile.
Gum grafting surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures for treating severe gum recession. During gum grafting surgery, a small piece of oral tissue is removed from a healthy area of the mouth and sewn over the affected area.
This covers the exposed roots, reducing pain and shortening the visible length of the teeth. Gum graft surgery also helps prevent bone loss and further recession.
Pinhole surgery is another gum recession surgical procedure. This procedure is minimally invasive and used to treat mild to moderate cases of gum recession.
During this procedure, a small hole is made in the gum just above the exposed root. The dentist inserts a tool into the hole, separates the gum from the tooth, and stretches and repositions it back over the exposed root.
Rehabilitation for Gum Recession
The best option you have for dealing with gum recession is to prevent it in the first place. Regular dental visits are essential to caring for your gums and teeth. You and your dentist can discuss a customized gum recession rehabilitation plan depending on the severity of your case.
If you’d like to know more about preventing or treating gum recession or discussing other dental procedures, including porcelain veneers, bridges, crowns, and root canals with a gentle touch, we can help. Call us now and book a consultation in Belleville or Trenton, ON.