When the gum tissue that arches a tooth exposes dark sections, what you’re seeing is actually the tooth’s root. This is generally caused by gum recession, which exposes sensitive roots to hot or cold food and beverages as well as tooth brushing.
Even though you may not notice the exposed area at first, the painful jolt you get when eating ice cream or drinking hot tea tends gets your attention immediately! While the pain may be mistaken for a cavity, an examination can quickly determine the true cause.
Gum recession occurs for several reasons, which include:
– Rigorous tooth brushing: Brushing your teeth with a scrubbing motion or using a hard bristle tooth brush can erode tender gum tissue. Also, some abrasive substances, such as baking soda, are too harsh to use for brushing.
– Poor oral hygiene: Without proper brushing and flossing, oral bacteria can build up and form plaque. When not removed on a daily basis, plaque hardens into calculus, a substance that is actually a hardened colony of bacteria. Oral bacteria thrive and reproduce by dining on gum tissue.
– Periodontal (gum) disease: When bacteria accumulate, diseased gum tissues loosen from teeth, exposing tooth roots. As gum disease progresses, gum tissue and the bone that supports teeth can also be damaged and even result in tooth loss.
– Smoking: The chemicals of tobacco are horribly drying to oral tissues. Oral dryness occurs when there is insufficient saliva to wash bacteria out of the mouth. This provides an ideal environment for plaque that destroys gum tissues, leading to gum recession.
– Night-time clenching and grinding: When you clench or grind your teeth while asleep, this places such force on teeth that they can tilt out of position with the gums eventually releasing their grip from teeth.
– Misaligned teeth: When teeth are not aligned properly, it adds strain to teeth when biting and chewing. This also strains jaw joints, gums and supporting bone. This can lead to recession.
Yes, dark portions of a tooth detract from a smile’s appearance but they also place teeth at higher risk for decay or gum disease. For comfort, appearance and health of the tooth, it is important to remedy the cause and repair the problem before damage requires expensive and time-consuming treatment.
Repairing receded gums can be performed comfortably and quickly by gum recontouring procedures. In many cases, we use a dental laser that ensures a precision line, minimizes bleeding and reduces healing time.
The best time to treat recession is as soon as it is noticed. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more.