Gum recession is a gradual process that often goes unnoticed, and, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and other oral health problems. Fortunately, teeth damaged by gum recession can be repaired with restorative dentistry treatments. Whether or not you undergo restorative dentistry treatments, it is important to treat and prevent gum recession. The following overview will help you understand how gum recession occurs and how it is treated.
The Causes of Gum Recession
Gum recession is a condition in which the gums pull away from the teeth. Gum recession develops gradually and can go unnoticed for years. The earliest signs of gum recession include increased tooth sensitivity or the teeth may look longer than usual. Gum recession can occur for a number of reasons, including:
- Gum disease: Gum disease is the leading cause of gum recession. Gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by plaque and tartar buildup at and below the gum line. The collection of plaque and tartar can cause pockets to form between the gums and teeth, pulling the gums away from the teeth.
- Poor oral hygiene: Insufficiently brushing and flossing the teeth leads to gum disease and plaque buildup, the leading cause of gum recession.
- Aggressive brushing: Aggressive tooth brushing, including applying too much pressure or using a hard bristled brush, can wear down the gums and tooth enamel.
- Tobacco use: Tobacco use increases plaque, which leads to gum disease and gum recession.
Treating Gum Recession
Gum recession is treated with gum tissue grafts to restore the gum line and prevent further damage. There are different gum graft procedures. The type of gum tissue graft used depends on the needs of the patient. The different types of gum tissue graft surgeries are as follows:
- Pedicle graft: The pedicle graft method uses gum tissue from around the tooth where the gum tissue is receding. A pedicle, or flap, is cut from the surrounding gum tissue and pulled to cover the exposed tooth and stitched into place to restore the gum line.
- Free gingival graft: With a free gingival graft, tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and attached to the gum line.
- Connective-tissue graft: Connective-tissue grafts use a small piece of the inner connective subepithelial tissue from the roof of the mouth. A small amount of this tissue is removed and stitched to the gums, repairing the gum line.
Recovering from Gum Surgery
Recovering from gum graft surgery generally takes one to two weeks, or longer depending on the type of graft and extent of treatment. After gum graft treatment, you will be given care instructions which typically advise eating soft foods to prevent gum irritation and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash. It is generally not recommended to brush or floss the grafted area during the healing process, which is why an antiseptic mouthwash should be used.
Schedule a Consultation
Don’t let gum recession go untreated! To learn more about your gum recession treatment options, schedule a consultation with University Dental Arts.