When Good Gums Go Bad
As discussed in a recent blog post, healthy gums protect your teeth from periodontal disease and prevent tooth sensitivity. If you take care of your gums, you’ll have a lot to smile about! The most effective way to protect your gum tissue is by thoroughly and regularly brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning. When teeth are healthy, gum tissue fits snuggly around each tooth, almost like a cuff. When gums start to recede, they pull away from the tooth. This is not just unsightly but can lead to serious dental problems.
What Makes Gums Recede
Gum recession can result from:
- Periodontal (Gum) disease
- Aggressive tooth brushing (Hard-bristle brushes can contribute)
- Injury (Some sports can lead to gum injury)
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Genetics (some people are just born with thin, weak gums)
- Prominent tooth roots or attachment muscles pushing gums out of place
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
Why You Should Treat Gum Recession
When gum recession occurs, “pockets,” or gaps, form between the teeth and gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to collect. If left untreated, supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can suffer severe damage. This can lead to an unattractive smile, root sensitivity, loss of supporting bone, tooth decay, plaque build-up and risk of further recession.
Treatments for Gum Recession
Although the causes and treatments vary, your dentist can help stop gum recession in its tracks or reverse severe cases.
Brushing Too Hard?
If your gums are receding because you brush too hard, ask your dentist or hygienist how to properly clean your teeth. Although changing the way you brush won’t reverse existing damage, it will prevent further recession.
Dental cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing can keep dental problems at bay, including gum recession. Using these processes, Dr Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry will remove plaque and tartar from tooth and root surfaces. This will help heal gum tissue and encourage gum reattachment to the tooth.
Partial Denture Misalignment?
If your gums have receded because of a partial denture that doesn’t fit right, your dentist should be able to adjust or remake the dentures for you, to protect precious gum tissue.
In some cases, gum recession is so severe it requires a bone graft. In terms of dental work, a bone graft is a surgical procedure a dentist uses to fix problems with bones or joints. Bone grafting, or transplanting of bone tissue, is beneficial in fixing bones that are damaged from trauma or problem joints. It’s also useful for growing bone around an implanted device, such as a knee replacement, where there is bone loss or a fracture. A bone graft may fill an area where bone is absent or help provide structural stability.
The bone used in a bone graft can come from the patient’s body or a donor. Or it can be entirely synthetic. The graft can provide a framework where new, living bone can grow if it’s accepted by the body. If you have lost a tooth, you might need a bone graft before an implant. While time often factors into bone loss, you might even require a graft even if you come into your dentist’s office to ask for an implant the day after you lose a tooth. Reasons for this include if the socket becomes infected, or if the lost, recovered tooth is the wrong size to support an immediate replacement. What’s more, most people don’t come in for an implant the same day they lose a tooth. Either way, bone loss occurs every day the tooth is missing. So, time is of the essence.
About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California
Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.