Will My Receding Gums Grow Back?
Receding gums pull away from your teeth, exposing tooth roots. Because the roots do not have the protective enamel found on the tooth crown, this leaves your teeth highly vulnerable to decay. Gums receding from your teeth also leave pockets in which plaque bacteria builds up. In turn, this buildup causes even more receding of the gum tissues. Eventually, the cycle of receding and buildup leads to tooth loss and bone damage.
Some tissues in your body, such as epithelial tissue, grow back after experiencing injury. But your gum tissues do not regenerate like this. Once you have lost tissue meant to protect your teeth, it is forever gone. However, after a diagnosis of receding gums, your Carolina Dental Arts dentist offers some treatments to restore gum health and protect your smile.
What Causes Receding Gums?
There are many causes for receding gums. According to the dentists of Carolina Dental Arts in Raleigh, Durham and Goldsboro, the most common causes include:
- Over-brushing: Believe it or not, using too much pressure when brushing your teeth can damage both precious enamel and gums. This is why your dentist recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle hand when brushing your teeth to protect your gums.
- Bruxism, also called teeth grinding: Grinding your teeth, even when sleeping at night, puts immense pressure on your gum tissues. This can lead to gums receding from your teeth.
- Gum disease: Bacteria buildup that leads to gum disease also causes gum tissue to recede.
- Oral injury: Injuring your gums, such as through trauma occurring during sports activity, can cause gums to recede.
- Smoking and other tobacco use: Using tobacco restricts blood flow to your body’s tissues, including the gums. It also hinders healing. Smoking can make gum recession caused by other factors even worse.
If your dentist diagnoses gum recession, you have several options for treatment. Your dentist will also discuss the likely causes of your receding gums with you, so you can change your lifestyle habits to prevent further damage to these sensitive tissues.
Treatments for Receding Gums
Your gums serve several purposes for your oral health. First, they form a tight seal around your teeth to keep bacteria from eroding the tooth roots. As a barrier to bacteria, they help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. These tissues also hold your teeth firmly in place. This is why it is important to take receding gums seriously.
After diagnosing your receding gums, your dentist may advise you to pay closer attention to gum care to protect these tissues. Or, you might need to consider gum surgery, since gums receding from your teeth will not grow back.
Improving Your Gum Care
If bacteria is building up in the pockets caused by receding gums, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning with scaling and root planing. This gum treatment involves scraping hardened plaque, called tartar, from beneath the gum line. Scaling and root planing involves using a scraping tool or ultrasonic device to loosen the plaque for removal. This sometimes includes application of an antibacterial gel under the gum line.
Scaling and root planing gives you a “clean slate” to take better care of your gums to prevent further receding. If you have typically used a medium- or hard-bristled toothbrush, you likely need to adjust to a soft-bristled one. Your dentist may also recommend using an antibacterial mouthwash each day. It is also important to floss daily before brushing your teeth and visit the dentist twice yearly for dental cleanings and checkups.
Surgery for Gums Receding from Your Teeth
Surgery is the most likely option to improve severely receding gums. Surgery can remove deeply pocketed bacteria beneath your gum tissues. It can also replace lost gum tissue.
These surgeries include:
- Flap surgery: If scaling and root planing alone cannot remove all of the plaque under the gum line, the dentist makes a slight incision in gum tissues to lift up a flap for better access and cleaning. Once this is done, the gum tissue is stitched back into place.
- Gum graft surgery: Gum grafting transplants tissues from another area of your mouth onto the receding areas to protect teeth and bones.
- Bonding: Resin colored to match your natural gums is placed over your tooth roots to conceal recession and protect the roots, at the same time.
Gum Health Is Very Important
Gum care is just as important as tooth care in overall oral health. If you notice your gums are receding or need a routine dental checkup to maintain healthy gums, call your Carolina Dental Arts dentist today for appointment scheduling. We offer convenient hours in four Triangle Area locations. These offices include Glenwood South and New Bern Avenue in Raleigh, Durham and Goldsboro, NC.