Receding gums are a very common problem, and although they can occur at any age, the issue frequently affects older adults. As gums recede, teeth look longer because the tooth roots are exposed, which is why older people are sometimes described as long in the tooth. If you are older, there is no reason for you to suffer from gum recession as with good oral care, you should be able to enjoy healthy gums for life, but if your gums are damaged and begin to recede, there is no way for them to grow back. Although this condition is irreversible, there are treatments to help prevent it from worsening.
How to Tell If You Have Receding Gums?
Various signs can indicate gum recession, including increased tooth sensitivity. As your gums recede and expose the tooth roots, you may notice eating or drinking anything very hot or cold or sour or sweet, makes your teeth twinge uncomfortably or even painfully. It’s because your tooth roots are not protected with tooth enamel and are more susceptible to registering these sensations. As your tooth roots are exposed, you may notice a notch where the tooth’s crown meets the tooth root. Instead of your gums fitting snugly around your teeth, you might notice unsightly gaps appearing between the gum and the tooth.
Why Do Gums Recede?
Your gums can recede for several reasons. Sometimes it’s due to brushing your teeth too hard that can literally wear away your gum tissue. If you smoke, you are more likely to have gum recession. Receding gums are often caused by poor oral health. If you fail to brush and floss frequently enough, plaque and tartar can build up, causing gum disease. Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis and is the most likely cause of gum recession.
How Can Receding Gums Be Treated?
If you are concerned your gums have begun to recede, make an appointment to come and see us for a checkup without delay. We can assess your teeth and gum health and determine why your gums have begun to recede before suggesting suitable treatments. Possible treatments include:
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing can be very successful in treating periodontal disease and is similar to a routine hygiene appointment but is designed to deep clean your gums and exposed tooth roots. During treatment, your teeth and tooth roots are thoroughly cleaned, removing all plaque, and tartar buildup before the exposed tooth roots are smoothed, a process called planing. Smoothing these root surfaces removes even more bacteria that can cause periodontal disease and makes it harder for new bacteria to stick to the smooth surfaces. The smooth surfaces also make it easier for your gums to reattach around the tooth roots.
Although your gum tissue cannot regrow on its own, it is possible to have gum surgery where new gum tissue is grafted onto the gums. The gum tissue is taken from another site in your mouth and stitched into place, protecting your tooth and improving aesthetics.