If you haven’t realized this by now, your teeth and gums are very important to your overall health and wellness. Sure, great teeth and gums allow you to smile confidently, but they also allow you to talk and eat. While there are many problems that can emperil your dental health, such as tooth decay, receding gums also pose serious complications.
To give you a better idea about the dangers of a receding gum line, the team of dental experts here at Willow Glen Dental Specialists pulled together the following information.
The role of your gums
To better understand the complications that can arise due to a receding gum line, let’s focus for a moment on the role of these soft tissues. The part of the tooth that you see above your gum line (the crown) is only about half of the overall structure. Each of your teeth has a root structure that goes down into your jawbones, where they’re anchored.
To ensure that bacteria don’t get into the roots of your teeth, which can threaten your entire tooth, your gums form a tight seal around your teeth. In addition to this important protective role, your gums also serve to keep your teeth in place.
The perils of gum recession
If your gums begin to recede, more of your tooth and its roots are exposed to potentially harmful bacteria. Making matters worse, recession often causes a loosening of the overall seal, which means bacteria and debris can more easily make their way inside your gums and down to the roots.
In addition to allowing more bacteria access to your teeth, receding gums can also lead to far more sensitivity in your teeth as nerves are exposed. You may feel pain around your gums or discomfort when you drink a hot or cold beverage. As well, brushing your teeth can become uncomfortable, if not painful, as your brush comes into more contact with your sensitive roots.
In advanced stages of gum recession, your teeth may loosen and you may incur tooth loss.
Causes of gum recession
There are several factors that can lead to a receding gum line, including:
- Brushing your teeth too vigorously
- Periodontitis (gum disease)
- Poorly aligned teeth
- Trauma to your gums
- Unchecked plaque buildup around your gum line
- Using chewing tobacco
One factor over which you have little control is aging — nearly 90% of people over the age of 65 have some degree of gum recession.
However you came to have a receding gum line, there’s one fact that you should be aware of gums don’t grow back.
Treating receding gum lines
If your gum recession is moderate to severe and you’re experiencing symptoms, the best way to resolve this issue is through gum grafting. With this technique, we use similar tissues from inside your mouth to augment your gums. This type of gum surgery allows us to beef up your gums again to cover up sensitive areas of your tooth (or teeth) and to restore the protective barrier against bacteria.
If your gums are receding and you’d like to learn more about gum grafting, please contact our office in San Jose, California, by calling 408-478-9081, or you can book an appointment with us online.