When your gums are healthy and young, they fit snugly around the bottoms of your teeth, holding them in place. Over time, or with disease or trauma, your gums may start to recede. If they recede too much, you’re at risk for tooth loss.
One of the major problems with gum recession is that it causes pockets to form between the teeth and gums, which can become a haven for bacteria. Bacteria in the gums may erode the tissue further and also infect your teeth and bones.
Gum recession has multiple causes, which is why treatment starts with a thorough evaluation and diagnosis at American Dental Clinic in San Diego, California. Dr. Emmanuel Aguilar offers periodontic care to restore your gums to health.
Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once a day doesn’t just keep your teeth healthy, it keeps your gums healthy, too. The sticky plaque that collects on your teeth is filled with acid-producing bacteria that erodes hard enamel and soft gum tissue.
If you don’t brush and floss regularly, the plaque hardens into a crusty brown substance called tartar. The tartar pushes away your gum tissue, causing pockets in your gums that collect more bacteria, which may lead to:
Gingivitis is an inflammation of your gums that’s the first sign you could be at risk for the gum infection known as periodontitis. Signs of gingivitis include red, puffy gums or blood on your toothbrush, dental floss, or basin.
Untreated gingivitis may develop into a serious gum infection called periodontitis. The infection can destroy your gum tissue, teeth, and alveolar bone. The infection can even travel through your bloodstream to cause serious health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and systemic infection.
Signs that you have periodontitis include:
You can’t remove tartar or treat periodontitis yourself. A dentist must use specialized tools and skills to scrape the tartar away.
If you already have periodontitis, our dentists may do a procedure called root planing and scaling, in which they remove tartar from under the gums and also smooth the roots of your teeth so the gums have a surface they can adhere to again. Planing and scaling resolve the infection and help your gums keep your teeth in place.
A lesser known cause of gum erosion is a result of stress on your jaw and teeth. If you have a tendency to clench your jaw tightly, or to grind your teeth at night (a condition known as bruxism), the grinding can loosen your teeth and also cause gum pockets to form.
Bacteria collects in the gum pockets, which can make your gums inflamed and at risk for periodontitis. Over time, the pressure and the loosening of the gums can cause gum recession.
Getting a tooth knocked out or loosened can traumatize your gums, putting them at risk for recession and infection. Some types of trauma that could cause gum recession include:
Be sure to see your dentist if you suffer a blow to the mouth or teeth. Contact us immediately if your dental appliances feel uncomfortable, or make it difficult to speak or chew.
Ironically, brushing your teeth too often or with a hard-bristled brush may cause damage to both your teeth and gums. Always use a soft-bristled brush and create a gentle sweeping motion downward, rather than scrub your teeth and gums.
To keep your gums stimulated and healthy, massage them regularly with a finger or a gum massager. Ask us to demonstrate proper brushing technique so that you don’t harm your gums or tooth enamel.
If you have gingivitis or periodontitis, we restore your gums to health with periodontal treatments. If your gum recession is severe, we may recommend repairing your gums with gum graft surgery.
Keep your teeth and gums healthy by consulting with our dentists today. Call our office or request an appointment online.