Receding gums happen when your gums peel back from your tooth and expose the tooth root. It is a type of gum disease that comes about because of poor oral hygiene.
Unfortunately, receding gums cannot grow back—at least not naturally. The damage that gum disease causes to the original gum tissue is irreversible. But some treatments can help prevent the condition from worsening.
Poor dental hygiene is the leading cause of receding gums. It may trigger gum recession in two ways:
Plaque from your teeth can build up into tartar if you do not clean your teeth and gums properly. The tartar breeds bacteria that damage the gums, causing them to pull back toward the root of your tooth.
Forceful brushing can make your gums recede. Brushing too hard using a hard-bristled toothbrush may cause your gums to swell and recede along the gumline.
Other causes include gum disease, teeth grinding and clenching, gum tissue trauma or injury, aging, and smoking.
Rebuilding your gums depends on the root cause, which may or may not require surgery. Your dentist will perform a dental exam and identify the underlying cause of your gum recession before starting treatment.
If gum disease is causing your gums to recede, the dentist will first treat the infection and then develop a treatment plan to restore your gums.
The treatment may include:
Your dentist may suggest reevaluating your oral care habits if forceful brushing or improper cleaning is the cause. The treatment plan may involve changing your toothbrushes regularly and using ultrasoft, soft, or electric toothbrushes that can detect force.
You may need to change your toothpaste if you use an abrasive one. Consider using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Lastly, your dentist may recommend regular professional teeth cleanings and dental checkups to help restore your gums.
Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if you have a gum infection. Other medicines your dentist may use to treat the root cause of your receding gums include:
Topical antibiotic ointment
Scaling and root planing is the first treatment dentists prescribe for receding gums. Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar from underneath the gumline, where your toothbrush cannot reach. Root planing eliminates plaque and tartar from your teeth's roots and smoothens out the roots to help gum tissue rejoin the tooth.
Gum grafts may be necessary if your gum recession is severe. During the procedure, a dental surgeon will cut out a small piece of gum tissue from a different part of your mouth and use it to seal the exposed tooth root. This helps stop the gums from pulling further back and prevents jawbone loss. It also helps guard the formerly bare tooth root against decay.
PST is a minimally invasive surgery that helps correct minor to moderate gum recession. It makes a small hole in the gum tissue above the open tooth root and separates the tissue from the tooth. The dental surgeon then stretches and moves the gum back over the uncovered tooth root.
For more about treating receding gums, visit Glacier Dental at our offices in Anchorage, Alaska. Call (907) 222-6000 to book an appointment today.