Monday, February 27, 2012

Gum Recession

What is Gum Recession?
Gum Recession is one if the leading causes of sensitivity today.  After the gum recedes, there is dentin (root surface) exposed.  Dentin is full of tubules that have open access to the nerve of the tooth.  Without the gum covering and protecting the dentin, exposure to heat, cold and pressure can cause pain. 
What Causes Gum Recession?
There are several things that can cause this condition.  Brushing with a hard bristle toothbrush, using to much pressure when brushing and highly abrasive toothpaste can wear away at the gums and push them away from the tooth. 
Grinding and clenching your teeth also causes gum recession.  The pressure placed on the teeth from grinding and clenching not only causes gum recession, but can create structural problems for the teeth as well. 
Genetics is another factor that plays a role in your risk of gum recession.  If you have a family history of this and/or gum disease you are more likely to have this problem.
What can be done to fix it?
Your dentist may send you to a periodontist to evaluate you for grafting.  Grafting is a surgical procedure where tissue is taken from a donor, or the roof of your mouth, and used to replace the missing gum tissue.  Only certain patients are eligible for this type of treatment. 
A more conservative approach involves home care.  Working with your dental hygienist to create an oral health routine that can limit damage is the best defense.  Using an extra soft manual toothbrush with a non-abrasive toothpaste can help maintain gum levels in your mouth.
If you are grinding or clenching your teeth, you need a night guard.  This appliance protects your teeth from   pressure. 

If you are having problems with sensitivity or you notice gum recession in your mouth, talk to your dental professional today.