Gum recession is often caused by rigorous tooth brushing, which can expose the dentin in the neck of the tooth. However, there are also other causes to gum recession.
Teeth have a protective coating of enamel that covers a porous layer called dentin. The dentin layer is made up of microscopic bulbs that surround a nerve center. The nerve center is sensitive to things like high or low temperatures or jolts. If the dentin is exposed, the nerve center responds with pain signals. When the bristles of a tooth brush or hot or cold beverages hit these sensitive areas, the common response is pain.
Poor oral hygiene can ultimately lead to gum recession as well. When bacteria in the mouth are not removed on a daily basis, plaque forms around the teeth. This 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). With gum disease, the gums lose their attachment to the teeth, giving the appearance of long, unsightly teeth. Even worse, this allows for easy entry of bacteria to penetrate bones and tissues that support teeth. Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Another cause of gum recession may be from trauma resulting from teeth clenching or bruxing (tooth grinding). This action can break down gum tissues and lead to recession. When gum recession is causing this, it can be accompanied by worn or chipped teeth.
For minor gum recession, use a soft bristle tooth brush and lighten up on your brushing stroke. Rather than a back-&-forth ‘scrubbing’ motion, use a swipe from the base of each tooth to its end. Then, clean the tops of teeth with a circular motion. Also, use a ‘sensitivity’ toothpaste with potassium nitrate to block the nerve endings.
In more severe cases of gum recession, surgery of a cosmetic or restorative nature may be recommended. Gum tissue regeneration and gum grafting are excellent ways to protect the gums and make the smile look more attractive. Gum grafting is a common periodontal procedure. We perform this procedure with a laser for excellent results and optimal patient comfort.