When discussing dental care and other oral health issues there are so many individuals areas that you can focus on. The fact of the matter is that taking care of your mouth is about so much more than just your teeth. Gum health is every bit as important as the health of each individual tooth. After all, your gums are what support and protect those teeth. When there is a problem with the gums, problems with the teeth are not far behind. One common example is receding gums. Read on to learn more about the causes and treatment options for this serious dental issue.

What Are Receding Gums?

Receding gums are when the gums begin to pull back away from the teeth. This exposes parts of the tooth that are meant to be covered, possibly all the way to the root. This can lead to the tooth appearing longer than it actually is. Oftentimes the process is so gradual that many people do not even realize it is happening. However, ignoring the early warning signs of sensitivity can lead to serious problems down the road.

What Can Cause This Issue?

There are several possible reasons as to why this problem may develop in people of any age. Although it is generally associated with getting older, as exemplified in the term “long in the tooth”, there are a number of other issues that can cause it. The first and most common is gum disease or, more specifically, periodontitis.

Another possible cause is tartar buildup resulting from poor oral hygiene. Smoking is also a common culprit. Brushing your teeth too hard, hormonal changes in pregnancy, teeth grinding, as well as a misaligned bite are all issues which can lead to gum recession if not addressed by a dental professional immediately.

What Can Happen as a Result of Receding Gums?

In addition to the appearance of longer teeth, as well as the increased sensitivity, there are a number of other concerns that come with receding gums. For example, as the gum tissue separates more and more from the teeth, small pockets form. This causes food particles to get stuck between the teeth and gums. These pockets are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Over time, this can cause not only chronic bad breath but also tooth decay and loss.

What Kind of Treatments Are Available?

Treatments for Receding Gums

The preferred treatment option for receding gums is a procedure known as gum grafting. This technique is also referred to as gingival grafting. Within this treatment method are a few different techniques which can are used to restore your gums back to their proper length and positioning.

In one example, the dentist will create a small incision the size of a pinhole. They will then use this as an entry point in order to gently pull the tissue back to its proper place. After that, they will place small, thin pieces of collagen between the gum tissue and teeth during the healing process, and insert a tiny suture to hold it in place.

Another common technique is relocating healthy tissue from another area of the mouth (usually the roof) and placing it over exposed areas. The 3 main types of this procedure are:

  • Connective tissue graft
  • Free gingival graft
  • Lateral or pedicle graft

Which Option Is Right for You?

The details of your specific case will determine exactly what type of procedure is best suited to your needs. The best way to decide the right treatment for your particular dental health needs is to discuss it with the dentist. When this issue comes as the result of advanced gum disease, it may be necessary to speak with a periodontist. This is an oral healthcare provider specializing in gum health and treatments.

Regardless of which treatment you ultimately end up undergoing, the most important thing is to get on top of it immediately. Many people want to pretend there is no problem in hopes that it will go away. However, dental issues never resolve themselves. Only with proper oral care and treatment can you be sure that this problem will be corrected. Setting an appointment to visit the dentist as soon as possible is the first step. After that, you can discuss which treatment methods may be best for your personal situation.