Can You Reverse Receding Gums?
The term gum recession refers to a condition in which the gingiva (gum tissue) pulls away from a tooth, exposing its root. While this condition is concerning, if you seek treatment from an experienced periodontist like Dr. William P. Lamas, gum recession can be reversed. Gum disease serves as the leading cause of receding gingival tissue as well as the main reason for adult tooth loss in the U.S.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, which is also referred to as gingivitis and then, in its later stages, periodontal disease, is a progressive disease that can substantially damage an individual’s teeth, gum tissue and jawbone. If periodontal disease is left untreated, individuals usually experience pain, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, inflamed gums that bleed easily and tooth loss. Furthermore, untreated gum disease is linked to serious health issues including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, strokes and certain types of cancer.
In its early stage, gum disease is referred to as gingivitis. At this stage, an individual may not notice any symptoms; however, an experienced periodontist can detect gingivitis and treat the disease without the need for surgical intervention.
If gingivitis is not recognized and treated, the disease will progress to the more severe stage of the disease, periodontitis. There are three stages of periodontitis: mild, moderate and severe. If periodontitis is allowed to set in, permanent damage is inevitable; however, Dr. Lamas performs a variety of innovative techniques specifically designed to reverse gum recession. He can also permanently replace missing teeth using dental implants.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the result of a bacterial infection of the gingival tissue. This infection damages the bone and tissue responsible for holding the teeth in place.
Issues that increase the likelihood of developing gum disease include:
– saliva is beneficial to the mouth because it washes bacteria and food debris away; however, if an individual is suffering from dry mouth, that debris and bacteria remain, wreaking havoc on his or her teeth. Swishing water around in the mouth for about 30 seconds following a snack or meal is helpful in a case such as this. If it is a medication causing the dry mouth, consider asking for a different one. In addition, staying hydrated can help prevent dry mouth.
– if an individual smokes cigarettes or cigars and/or chews tobacco, he or she is more likely to experience dry mouth; thus, increasing the likelihood of developing gum disease.
What Causes the Gums to Recede?
There are numerous reasons that an individual’s gums may recede, including:
– unfortunately, some people have thinner gingival tissue than others; thus, making them more prone to developing a receding gum line.
Lip and/or tongue piercings
– even smooth jewelry has a tendency to rub against the gums, which leads to irritation, swelling and gum recession.
Spaces between the teeth
– if food becomes lodged in the spaces between the teeth, inflammation of the gum and alveolar bone may result. This inflammation can lead to receding gums.
Tartar buildup due to poor dental hygiene
– once tartar accumulates along the gum line, the gingival tissue pulls away from the teeth and pockets form. Proper dental hygiene with biannual cleanings and exams will help keep plaque from turning into tartar; thus, reducing the likelihood of gum disease and a receding gum line.
– using a hard-bristled toothbrush and applying too much pressure can cause inflammation and gum recession. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush, placed at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line. Make short back and forth movements. Remember to brush at least twice a day, in two-minute intervals.
Clenching or grinding the teeth
– these actions place excessive pressure on the teeth, alveolar bones, ligaments and jawbones, all of which lead to inflammation. This inflammation and irritation causes the gums to become extremely sensitive: They may begin to recede.
A mouth injury
– even just a cut from a potato chip can lead to an infection and gum recession.
– these medications include those used for cancer therapy, anti-epilepsy meds and calcium-channel blocker medications.
Pre-existing dental issues
– these issues may include old fillings, bridges that do not fit properly, extremely crooked teeth and/or an abnormal bite.
What Makes Receding Gums a Problem?
Besides changing the way the teeth look, the roots of the teeth do not have the enamel to protect them like the visible portion of the teeth do (i.e., the crowns). Without the enamel, the roots are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature; therefore, eating foods and drinking beverages that are hot and cold may become painful. Also, since the roots are no longer protected by the gums, they may begin to decay. Moreover, the pockets the receding gums create are the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, which makes receding gums beneficial to the existing periodontal disease; therefore, the likelihood of soft tissue, bone and tooth loss increases. The more serious the periodontal disease and gum recession, the more difficult it is to treat.
Treating Receding Gums at Lamas Dental Specialists
Once the gums recede, Dr. William P. Lamas can reverse gum recession using the Traditional Gum Grafting Procedure (i.e., Connective-Tissue Graft or Free Gingival Graft), the AlloDerm® Regenerative Tissue Matrix or the Pinhole Surgical Technique™.
A traditional gum grafting procedure involves excising tissue from the roof of the patient’s mouth and using it to cover the exposed root. Dr. Lamas can cover one or two teeth during this type of procedure.
The AlloDerm® Regenerative Tissue Matrix is similar to the Connective-Tissue Graft; however, instead of removing a piece of tissue from the patient’s mouth, donor tissue is used. Since donor tissue is used, several teeth can be addressed during a single session.
The Pinhole Surgical Technique™ is ideal for individuals who have numerous exposed roots that need to be covered. Dr. William P. Lamas can use this technique to cover up to 14 teeth during one session. During this procedure, he makes small holes in the existing gingival tissue and then gently moves it to cover the exposed roots.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
– this procedure is used when there is not enough gingival tissue and/or bone in the treatment area. Using this procedure, Dr. Lamas can direct the growth of the tissue and/or bone by inserting a barrier membrane.
How Dr. William P. Lamas chooses to treat your gum disease and gum recession depends solely on your specific circumstances. His initial goal is to stop the damaging effects of gum disease and prevent new damage from occurring. Once these issues are addressed, Dr. Lamas will be able to treat your gum recession and discuss the tooth replacement options that are available.
If you have gum disease and receding gums, contact Lamas Dental Specialists today at (305) 440-4114. We can help you rebuild your smile, which will undoubtedly improve your self-esteem and increase your confidence.