Gum Recession Causes and Treatments
By Steven Kail on May 21, 2014
Gum disease is a common problem. But it’s important to understand that if gum diseases is left untreated, it can lead to gum recession, a more serious gum infection that causes the gums surrounding your teeth to wear away and recede.
Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, an early-stage gum disease that causes gums to be inflamed and to bleed easily. If left unchecked, gingivitis evolves to periodontitis.
With periodontitis, the gums begin to recede, pulling away from the teeth. As the infection invades the bone surrounding teeth, the teeth themselves become loose and will eventually fall out, requiring restorative dentistry procedures such as dental implants or dental bridges.
At Premier Dental Center, which provides cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry services, our team of dentists is focused on patient education to avoid gum disease for our patients in Bells, Brownsville, Jackson, and West Tennessee. However, if gum disease becomes entrenched, gum recession treatment may be required.
What Causes Gum Disease?
There are a number of factors that can introduce gum disease, not all of them the fault of the patient. Causes include:
- Poor Oral Hygiene. In many cases, poor oral hygiene allows plaque to build up on your teeth and cause infections, including gum disease.
- Aggressive Tooth Brushing. Brushing your teeth is important, but aggressive brushing can harm your gums. Please ask us if you would like to learn the proper way to brush your teeth to avoid damage to your gums.
- Tobacco Products. Smoking increases the buildup of plaque while suppressing your immune system. This one-two combo makes you more susceptible to gum infections.
- Genetics. Some people are more susceptible to gum disease than others because of their genetic makeup.
- Medications. Saliva helps to protect your teeth. However, some medications reduce saliva and make you more susceptible to gum disease.
- Poor Diet. A diet high in simple carbohydrates and sugars encourages plaque, which promotes gum disease.
Gum Recession Treatments
The earlier you treat gum disease, the better. If caught early, you can eliminate the infection and reverse the damage. Early treatments include antibiotics and deep cleaning of the gums, called scaling and root planing. Treatment for advanced stages of gum disease, such as gum recession, will depend on the extent of damage. In many cases, you may require surgery to stop further damage and tooth loss.
Surgical treatments for advanced gum disease include:
- Gingivectomy. In this procedure, loose and diseased gum tissue is removed and reshaped to remove pockets between the teeth and gums, which collect bacteria.
- Flap Procedure. The gums are pulled back and tarter is removed. Damaged bone may be smoothed to prevent bacteria from collecting on the irregular surfaces. The gums are then restored to their proper place, with a snug fit to reduce the space between the gum and tooth where bacteria can collect. This procedure is also called pocket reduction surgery.
- Guided Tissue Regeneration. Gum disease can damage both gum tissue and bone. Guided tissue regeneration encourages the growth of replacement bone and tissue. This is often done in conjunction with flap surgery.
Gum disease does not go away on its own. If you suspect your gums are infected, we recommend seeking professional treatment. If caught early, the damage caused by gum disease can often be reversed. Even if you have more advanced gum disease, it should be treated to prevent further damage.
Please contact us for an appointment.
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