Gum receding is an extremely painful and scary dental problem that can have long term ramifications on the oral health of individuals. Also referred to as gingival recession, the condition occurs when the margin of gum tissue that surrounds the teeth recedes from the base or wears out, exposing more of the teeth and making them look abnormally placed. This enhances the risk of infection and decay of the teeth and might even lead to permanent tooth loss. The problem, despite being quite common, often goes unnoticed during the initial stages and in case of severe gum recession, patients can suffer from great pain, tooth sensitivity and even infection.
Causes of Gum Recession
Receding gums can be caused by a number of reasons, including the age and life habits. Given below are the most common causes of this oral health problem.
- Periodontal Problems: Gum infections caused by bacteria are one of the major causes of receding gums. Such infections might destroy the gum tissue and also the supporting bone that hold the teeth together in their proper position. However, gum disease should not be confused with gingivitis, which only causes the inflammation of the gums.
- Poor Oral Health: Questionable dental care habits also a leading cause of gum recession. People who do not brush, floss or rinse their teeth properly run a greater risk of plaque formation leading to calculus build up. Removing the hard calculus through professional dental cleaning can cause gum recession.
- Aggressive Cleaning Of Teeth: using too much force while brushing the teeth or even using hard bristled tooth brushes can also lead to gum recession. It is important to remember that brushing is not similar to scrubbing and hence should be done in a gentle and careful manner. Doing the task too aggressively can damage the enamel of the teeth and also cause the gums to wear away and recede.
- Genetic Reasons: Individuals, having a family history of susceptibility to gum disease run the risk of developing the problem of gum recession despite taking good care of their teeth. This is because the characteristics of an individual’s gums are determined by their genetics, just like the rest of their body. So, even if one of the parents of an individual suffers from gum recession, they run a high risk suffering from the problem.
- Hormonal Causes: Some females might develop the problem of gum recession due to the various hormonal changes they face in their lifetime. The hormonal changes experienced by females during puberty, pregnancy and even menopause can lead to the gums becoming extremely sensitive and prone to wearing out of the gums.
Treatment Options for the Disease
People suffering from mild cases of gum recession might not need any treatment and might be simply advised to take preventive measures besides monitoring the gums regularly. However, in most severe cases, the patients might be advised to undertake one of the following methods of treatment.
Composite restoration: This method involves using tooth-colored resin composites for to cover the exposed root structure of the teeth. The method is also used for filling the gaps between teeth.
Varnishes, dentine bonding, and desensitizing agents: These treatments are used for reducing the sensitivity resulting from the exposure of the roots of the teeth due to gum recession. The treatments are effective in maintaining normal oral hygiene as well as addressing any nerve sensitivity issues.
Removable veneers: Removable veneers are mostly made from silicon or acrylic and are slipped over the teeth to ensure better protection of the exposed roots.
Gum graft surgery: This is an invasive treatment method wherein the tissue from one are of the moth is transplanted over the site of gum recession to enable it to heal gradually.