Age does not necessarily mean that you will be “long in the teeth” as time goes by. Rather, there are physical or health factors that can cause gum recession at any age.
Gum recession is when the gingival tissues around your teeth begin to pull back and expose the underlying root surfaces. Here are some of the most common causes:
Being Too Aggressive When You Brush Your Teeth
Do you brush too hard or use a stiff-bristled toothbrush? You can damage your enamel and gums by over-scrubbing them. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and only apply gentle pressure.
Your gums will pull back from the trauma caused by over-exertive brushing. But it will also damage your tooth enamel. You’ll likely notice small notches on the sides of your teeth, along with exposed roots in those areas. It’s impossible to repair them without professional intervention, setting you up for tooth sensitivity, decay, and additional gum recession.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
In most cases, untreated gum disease/periodontitis is the main cause of receding gumlines. When we don’t remove the bacteria under and around the gum tissues every day, eventually they become infected and pull away from the tooth, creating a “periodontal pocket.” Periodontal infections should be treated as soon as possible before gum recession and bone loss become more severe.
Active cases of gum disease cause your gum tissues to progressively detach from the tooth, creating deeper pockets while pulling away and exposing the tooth roots. Eventually, tooth loss is inevitable.
Trauma or Injury
Similar to overzealous toothbrushing, a physical injury to your mouth—like from an athletic accident or automobile wreck—can cause tissue damage or scarred tissue around certain teeth.
If you smoke or chew tobacco, the chemicals and dip/snuff can physically alter the tissue around your teeth. Even smokeless tobacco contains tiny abrasives to increase nicotine uptake in your mouth. This can lead to severe gum recession. Tobacco products also tend to mask the symptoms of gum disease (like inflammation and bleeding), so it’s possible to have a progressive oral disease without even realizing it.
Tooth Misalignment, or Orthodontic Appliances
If you have crooked teeth or severe crowding, the gum tissues around your tooth roots will pull in different directions as a result. It is quite common for a misaligned tooth to have significant gum recession, even if its neighboring tooth doesn’t. A crooked tooth may appear longer or expose the root surfaces of neighboring teeth, depending on how taught the gum tissues are.
Braces or removable aligners can be used to correct the alignment of your teeth to reduce tension and help prevent further recession. However, if the tooth movement is accelerated at an extremely rapid pace, unwanted side effects, including gum recession and root damage, may occur.
Can Gum Recession Get Worse?
Tissues suffering from gum recession are physically unable to repair themselves. Unfortunately, inadequate oral hygiene or delays in care will allow the areas of concern to progress into more severe cases of recession.
Although the difference may not be significant at first, it will become more pronounced over time. Professional intervention with our Salem dentist is always necessary. Recession is a serious problem that should be addressed early to prevent tooth decay, mobility, sensitivity, or complete loss of teeth.
How to Treat Receding Gums
The treatment for gum recession is therapeutic, but it also offers cosmetic benefits. When your teeth are healthier and anchored in place by healthy tissues, they’re naturally more attractive. Covering exposed root surfaces also reduces your risk of decay and additional treatment costs.
Depending on the cause behind your uneven gumlines, our Salem treatments might include a series of therapeutic deep cleanings (periodontal scaling and root planing,) Pinhole® rejuvenation, orthodontic therapy, composite bonding, or even a combination of these.
Identifying the source of your soft tissue abnormality is the first step in treatment. One method may not correct every cause, as is the instance of aggressive toothbrushing or misaligned teeth.
Minimally Invasive Gum Recession Treatment
Paradise Dental Associates also offers Pinhole gum rejuvenation®. This cutting-edge treatment option eliminates the need for painful grafts and surgery, giving you immediate results without a lengthy recovery time. Pinhole® is a suture-free grafting alternative that offers immediate results of healthier gumlines.
If you’re experiencing areas of gum recession, be sure to contact our Salem dentists. We’ll evaluate your smile, discuss the risk factors at play, and help you determine a care plan that keeps your smile healthy (and attractive).
Contact Paradise Dental Associates today to request an exam.