Gum recession is a common dental condition and should be addressed with your dentist immediately. The gums start to pull away from the teeth and start receding towards the root surface. The gums are not only essential for improving our smile and facial esthetics. They also serve as an indicator of our overall physical and dental health status. There are many medical and dental conditions which are initially manifested by the recession of gums from the teeth, especially gum and periodontal problems. Therefore, it is essential that the underlying cause of gum recession must be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
This article discusses various options for the treatment of gum recession. Before we discuss treatment options, let’s take a look at the risk factors that are associated with recession of gums.
What Causes Gum Recession?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), gum recession can take place due to the following factors:
- Active periodontal disease or gum inflammation
- Using a toothbrush with hard bristles or applying excessive force during brushing
- Traumatic injuries to the gums
- Poor fitting dentures which damage the gum tissues during insertion or removal
- Tooth crowding and malocclusion
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes.
- Smoking, vaping or marijuana use
How to Treat Gum Recession?
Now we come to the options that can be utilized for treating gum recession. Generally, gum recession is treated by removing the underlying cause. Your dentist will first perform a detailed examination of your teeth to diagnose the issue. Afterward, a detailed treatment plan will be prepared to treat the problem.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Gum Recession
1. Oral Hygiene Maintenance
The most common causes of gum recession is gum or periodontal disease caused due to poor oral hygiene maintenance. If your dentist feels that your gums are receding because of an underlying periodontal problem. The most effective approach is to initiate a strict oral hygiene protocol through regular brushing and flossing.
2. Use Toothbrushes with Soft Bristles
During a clinical examination, your dentist can diagnose if you’re applying too much force while brushing your teeth. Hard toothbrush bristles will physically irritate the gums, which forces them to move away from their natural position. Using a soft toothbrush may not reverse the problem, but it will certainly prevent the condition from progressing further.
3. Repair/ Replacement of Dentures
In some cases, gum recession can take place when the clasps or dentures physically irritate the gums. Also poor fitting of dentures can results in an injury to the underlying gums. This situation can be avoided by repairing or replacing the defective dentures.
4. Avoid Smoking
The harmful chemicals released from the cigarette or vape smoke directly damage and irritate the gums. This can cause gum inflammation and increase gum recession. Therefore, you can prevent this problem by avoiding any form of smoking or marijuana use.
5. Medical Intervention
There are cases where gum recession is caused due to an underlying medical condition. Your dentist will work with your physician for further treatment. As soon as the underlying condition is treated, you will observe an improvement in your gum recession problem.
Surgical Treatment of Gum Recession for Advanced Cases of Gum Recession.
If you have extreme gum recession, then your dentist may discuss performing surgical procedures to treat the problem.
1. Scaling and Root Planning
In addition, your dentist will also remove the plaque and tartar deposits from your teeth by using an ultrasonic scaler. Afterward, the teeth and exposed roots will be polished to prevent future chances of infection. As soon as the teeth have been professionally cleaned, the gums will start to grow back into their original position.
2. Soft and Hard Tissue Grafting
Sometimes damage caused by gum recession is so severe that there is very little gum tissue remaining. The gums are unable to grow back into their position, even after the underlying problem has been eliminated. Your dentist may perform soft tissue grafting to restore the optimal length of the gums as well as facial esthetics. Extensive bone loss brought about by periodontal requires a bone graft to repair bone density. The bone graft may either be obtained from a natural (human or animal) or an artificial source.