A receding gum line is a very unattractive feature. Retreating gums are also an major indicator for serious dental problems in the future.
Gum recession occurs when the gums and the bones in the mouth begin to shift away from the teeth. Although it is natural for gums to recede as part of the normal aging process it is not inevitable and it is not only associated with age. There may be a number of causes but the common causes are:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Overly enthusiastic brushing
- Insufficient brushing
- Gum disease
- Tooth grinding.
If receding gums are left untreated the roots of the tooth are exposed which can increase tooth sensitivity and cause a painful response to cold and hot drinks and food. Exposed roots are also especially vulnerable to tooth decay and will inevitably lead to gum disease and loss of teeth.
Prevention is better than cure
As there is no cure for receding gums you should take precautions to prevent acquiring the condition in the first place. You should follow these steps to prevent receding gums:
Reduce build up of plaque: Healthy teeth and gums are maintained by preventing the build up of plaque. This is done by brushing and flossing on a regular basis, twice a day.
Use a suitable toothbrush: The correct toothbrush to use is a soft or medium bristled brush and it should be replaced every three months or when the bristles become worn.
Brush correctly: In order to avoid retreating gums brush teeth in gentle circular motion applying a moderate amount of pressure. Excessive brushing and insufficient brushing are both culprits in causing receding gums.
Use a mouth Guard: If waning gums is caused by tooth grinding you may need to use a mouth guard to protect your teeth from night time grating. Your dentist will advise on suitability of a mouth protector.
Visit your dentist: It is important to see your dentist twice a year for check-ups, early intervention and treatment. If there is a build up of plaque your dentist may perform a scaling and polishing treatment. In extreme cases the dentist may recommend surgery.
Treatment will depend on the level of gum recession and any damage that has been sustained to the bone underneath and may include:
Scaling to remove build up of dental tartar and plaque
Gum Grafting to cover the exposed tooth root.
Your dentist can advise on what treatment is required and perform most procedures in the dentist’s own surgery. What is clear however is that if you ignore this issue and do not seek assistance tooth loss is almost inescapable.
A lot of people are not up for the idea of going to a dentist. It might be that they are too afraid of pain, they simply do not like the sound of the drill or they do not like being told what to do. There are some who will allow several years to pass by before they go to a dentist. It is recommended that you visit your dentist once every six months for dental exams and cleanings. If you take long before going for a dental exam, you will be putting yourself at risk of more dental problems.
During your dental exam, this is what you can expect. If you are a new patient, your dentist is going to do a brief initial exam to determine obvious problems. If you are experiencing any pain, your dentist can deal with the issue first before they start cleaning. The order and cause of treatment is going to depend on the state of your dental health. The initial exam is going to involve a thorough inspection of your tongue, teeth and mouth.
You will also have to get an x ray as it can detect decay or any other problem that might not be obvious with just a surface examination. Decay around an old filing or between your teeth can be hard to see without an x ray. The dentist is also going to look for signs of oral cancer, gum disease or any other problem that you might have with your tongue and mouth. Whether your bite is correct and how your jaws are aligned is part of a dental exam.
The dental professional is going to take a complete medical and dental history before the exam and any significant findings discussed. There are some chronic illnesses and medications that can affect your dental health. Your dentist might also want to know the medications that you take. If you have a gum disease, cavities or any other problem, your dentist is going to discuss with you the next steps and also explain to you the work that needs to be done and what your options are.
During cleaning, the dental hygienist is going to use different tools which include a scaler and a tooth polisher. Tooth polishers are used in buffing teeth and removing tiny pieces of plaque. Scalers look like metal hooks and they are used in removing hard plaque especially between teeth. Dentists might also use devices which shoot water into the mouth so that you can rinse out the plaque several times during the cleaning.
Dental cleaning is going to conclude with advice on how to take care of teeth at home and scheduling appointments that are needed for extensive services such as filling cavities. If you have a busy dentist, it is wise to book an appointment well in advance.
A dental hygienist is the one that performs the cleanings. These professionals have gone through extensive training and education in order to provide dental hygiene care to their patients. Dental hygienists use their clinical skills in order to provide the highest and the best level of oral hygiene care and their interpersonal skills to motivate patients in achieving and also maintaining oral health. Dental hygienists with their specialized education are highly regarded professionals in the community.