Gum Recession Causes Sensitivity, Cavities (And Worse!) & Icky Smiles

added on: July 25, 2011

When gum tissue recedes, it exposes the root portion of the tooth. This leaves the sensitive nerve center of the tooth open and vulnerable to pain.

The bristles of a tooth brush or the chill of ice-cream can easily induce pain in these sensitive areas, which are not meant to be exposed in the first place. This is also why they are darker than your teeth. They are blood- and nerve-filled centers and not designed as the shiny, enamel-covered tooth surfaces that are meant for use in biting, chewing and to aid in speech.

We begin by first addressing the nature of the problem that caused the recession. Some common causes are:
•Over-aggressive brushing: Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled tooth brush can erode tooth enamel at the gum line, causing irritation or inflammation of the gum tissue.
•Poor oral hygiene: When brushing and flossing are performed improperly or not at all, a build-up of plaque can begin to affect the teeth. This, in turn, destroys gum tissue.
•Chewing tobacco: Any kind of tobacco has devastating effects on the entire mouth. Chewing tobacco, in particular, causes gum recession if used continuously.
•Periodontal disease: Periodontal disease can be a result of improper oral hygiene or caused by systemic diseases, such as diabetes.
•Crooked teeth or grinding and clenching: When teeth do not meet properly, too much strain is placed on the gums and bone, forcing gums to recede. By the same token, clenching or grinding your teeth can also strain teeth.

Recovering exposed tooth roots can be performed surgically or non-surgically. For surgical procedures, we often use a dental laser. While the patient relaxes under sedation, we numb the areas receiving treatment and then use the laser’s thin optic fiber for grafting. In some cases, non-surgical gum regeneration is an option.

Regardless of the procedure, it is important to protect these areas. In addition to discomfort, these exposed areas are highly vulnerable to cavities and gum disease. Treatment restores a natural symmetry to the gums, protects the sensitive areas and gives you a more pleasing smile.