Gum Recession or Gum Disease?
Although it often starts unnoticed, over time you may discover that you have some tooth sensitivity, perhaps you’ll feel a notch around the gum line or notice that more tooth is showing than normal. Gum recession is common as we get older, hence the saying “long in the tooth” as an indicator of age.
When gums start to recede, they pull away from the tooth, forming “pockets” of space around the tooth root. This is a perfect place for bacteria to grow: warm, moist and dark. Over time, if left untreated, the infection causes gum pockets to deepen which can lead to bone loss, tooth mobility and ultimately, loss of the tooth.
What Causes Gums to Recede?
There are several causes of gum recession.
Periodontal disease: Although periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common bacterial diseases, it’s a disease that can usually be prevented. Unfortunately, it often develops without notice and progresses over time without treatment. Gum disease is the primary cause of gum recession.
Trauma from aggressive tooth brushing: using a hard-bristled tooth brush or forceful brushing techniques can damage sensitive gum tissues, causing them to recede.
The force of your bite: when excessive force occurs on individual or a number of teeth, whether from clenching or grinding, or from a bite that does not come together evenly, the stress can lead to gum recession.
Changes in hormone levels: women may discover gum recession during or after periods of hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy or menopause.
Inadequate dental care: lack of effective brushing and flossing, especially with smokers, will lead to the build up of plaque, which hardens into tartar. Gum irritation from tartar can cause the gums to recede.
Treating Gum Recession
Mild gum recession can often be treated by non-surgical scaling and root planing – a “deep cleaning” usually done by your hygienist. This procedure is commonly done using local anesthetic for numbing and removes the tartar above and below the gum line. The gum pockets are cleaned out and the tooth root is smoothed so bacteria can’t attach as easily. Sometimes antibiotics are placed in the pockets to kill any remaining bacteria.
Deeper gum recession is treated surgically by a Periodontist – a gum disease dentist who specializes in gums and bone health. Depending on the severity of the recession, treatment may include the surgical cleaning of the gum pockets, the addition of tissue regeneration materials, or a gum tissue graft. All of these options are available as gum disease treatments Amherst NH.
Preventing Gum Recession
Caring for your teeth and gums every day is the best way to prevent gum recession.
Brush after meals (using a soft toothbrush) and floss every day
Have a professional cleaning and dental exam at least twice a year or as recommended by your dentist
Ask your dentist about a bite exam and options to correct any bite or tooth alignment problems that you may have
Eat healthy foods and limit snacks between meals
If you’re looking for Amherst gum disease treatments, our general dentists, periodontist and hygienists at New Hampshire Center for Comprehensive Dentistry are all available to answer your questions and provide excellent care for you in preventing or treating gum recession and gum disease. Contact us today. We’re you gum disease dentist Amherst NH.