Maybe, over time, you’ve noticed that your gums are shrinking back from your teeth and leaving more of the tooth exposed. Your gums are often swollen, red, and even painful. If these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to visit Surf City Dental. Yes, you probably have receding gums, but, no, you don’t have to panic. One of our dentists can accurately assess your case and recommend appropriate treatment.
How Can You Tell?
The gingival sulcus is the natural space between your tooth and the gum tissue that surrounds the tooth, known as the free gingiva.
Healthy gums typically have a sulcus depth ranging from 1 to 3mm. Sulcus depths greater than 3mm occur in patients that have varying degrees of gum disease. This deepening space is referred to as a periodontal pocket, an easy spot for harmful bacteria to grow.
Bad News, Good News
The bad news is that gum recession can’t be reversed. Receded gum tissue won’t grow back but — with proper dental treatment — you can keep the problem from getting worse.
As with other dental conditions, treatments vary according to the cause and severity.
For instance, with mild gum recession, one of our Surf City dentists or hygienists may simply recommend a more diligent at-home brushing, rinsing, and flossing regimen.
You might also need an occasional in-office procedure called scaling and root planing. This process removes tarter and plaque from the surface of your teeth and teeth roots, and also smoothes out the surface of the root. Your dentist may recommend the use of antibiotics during this procedure.
If you have periodontal pockets and bone loss that appears excessive, we may consider having a periodontist take a look. They specialize in diagnosing and treating gum disease. They can discuss advanced treatment options based on your diagnosis.
- Surgical Approaches
- Flap surgery: Affected gum tissue is folded back, harmful bacteria removed from pockets, and gum tissue secured over the tooth root
- Gum grafts: Tissue is taken from elsewhere in the mouth so that replacement tissue heals over the gum recession
- Bone grafts: Bone regeneration process of 6-9 months using either autogenous (patient’s) bone or (allograft) cadaver graft material
- Restorative Procedures
- Crown lengthening is an example of a restorative procedure that can be performed for cosmetic reasons or to improve function.
- Dental implants are another option if you’ve already lost teeth due to advanced gum disease.
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to your total oral health. Whether you’re concerned about receding gums or another issue, we’re here to help you find a solution that makes sense for you. For more information about receding gums, read Part One of this series about how to prevent receding gums.