Gum recession is where the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth begins to diminish. This means you will see more of the tooth than usual, and in severe cases, the root of the tooth may be visible. This looks unsightly, but there are health risks associated with the condition too. During gum recession, tiny gaps can appear between the tooth and the gum. These deep pockets of tissue can collect bacteria inside them where it is impossible to clean. Over time, this build-up of disease-causing bacteria can trigger a number of problems within the tissue and bone that supports your teeth, leaving them severely damaged and putting you at risk of single or even multiple tooth loss.
Gums can recede for a number of reasons, which include:
- Periodontal disease. Gum disease is the primary cause of gum recession.
- Smoking. Smoking creates a sticky plaque on your teeth that is difficult to remove, aiding the progression of gum recession.
- Failure to maintain a great oral care routine.
- Tooth-brushing that is too aggressive or that forces the gum away from the tooth.
- In females, fluctuations in hormone levels during times such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, can make gums more vulnerable to sensitivity and recession.
- Genetic predisposition. A great deal of our oral health is pre-determined by our genetics, so if your parents or grandparents have had gum recession, there is a good chance you may too.
- A misaligned bite, crooked teeth, grinding or clenching your teeth can all put too much pressure on the teeth, gums and bone and cause recession.
Symptoms of Gum Recession
Gum recession happens very gradually, but there are some symptoms you can look out for. These include:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold food/drink.
- The lower appearance of the gum line.
- Visible root.
- The emergence of cavities low in the tooth.
Depending on the severity of gum recession that you are experiencing, you may be a candidate for gum grafting. Sometimes also referred to as gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery, gum grafting is the collective name for procedures that aim to deal with exposed tooth root with grafted oral tissue. During your gum grafting consultation at Silver Spring Periodontics with Dr. Raymond B. van Gennip, you will be advised which type of gum grafting procedure will be best for your individual needs. A thin area of tissue is usually grafted from the roof of the mouth, although in some cases it is necessary to use donor tissue. Sometimes, if a patient has enough spare tissue in the surrounding teeth, it may be possible to graft tissue from near the tooth rather than the roof of the mouth.
In all types of gum grafting, you will be given a local anaesthetic to make the procedure painless. You can expect healing and the recovery period to take up to six weeks, but it is usually straightforward and your surgeon will give you important information to follow for optimal post-surgery care.
If you are suffering from gum recession, don’t wait until problems arise to start treatment. Make an appointment at Silver Spring Periodontics with
Dr. Raymond B. van Gennip today at (301) 565-8030