Are you occasionally experiencing painful jolts when you drink hot or cold beverages? This commonly stems from sensitivity caused by gum recession.
When the gums pull away from teeth, they leave portions of tooth roots exposed. Unlike the enamel-coated tooth that extends above the gums, the root portion below relies on gum tissue to protect the dentin.
Dentin wraps around the neck of the tooth and consists of tiny tubules that surround the root’s nerve center. If the dentin is exposed, the nerve center responds with pain signals. This typically happens when the bristles of a tooth brush or hot or cold foods and beverages reach exposed areas.
Gums that have pulled away from teeth due to periodontal (gum) disease is a common cause of gum recession. Gum disease is also the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
When bacteria in the mouth are not removed on a daily basis, plaque forms around the teeth. Plaque is toxic and causes irritation to the gums, which can develop into gingivitis. As the gums become more inflamed, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis (gum disease).
Another cause of gum recession can be from over-zealous brushing or using an abrasive substance such as baking soda. When tender gum tissues are scrubbed away, so is the protection that covers sensitive areas.
Gum recession can also occur from teeth clenching or bruxing (tooth grinding). This action can break down gum tissues and eventually lead to recession. In addition to receded gums, clenching or grinding can cause teeth to become worn or chip.
If gum recession is minor, we recommend switching to a soft bristle tooth brush and lightening up on your stroke. Rather than a back-&-forth ‘scrubbing’ motion, swipe from the base of each tooth to its end. Then, use a circular motion to clean the tops of teeth. A sensitivity toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate will also help to block nerve endings.
In more severe cases of gum recession, gum tissue regeneration or gum grafting may be necessary. These are performed with a high level of comfort and excellent outcomes.
The best way to remedy gum recession is sooner than later. Begin with an examination so you can hopefully avoid extensive treatment or expense. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more.