When you look in the mirror, do you notice that your teeth look longer than they used to? Or more sensitivity in your teeth where they meet your gums? If so, you may have receding gums. This issue affects not only your smile’s appearance but also your mouth’s health, so it is essential to talk to a dentist about the condition. At Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry in Dunedin, Florida, Drs. Ryan Lepore and Erin Dougherty offer a variety of treatment options depending on the cause and severity of your gum recession.
Causes of receding gums
A common misperception is that receding gums are exclusively caused by gum disease or old age. While periodontal disease is, in fact, a leading cause of gum recession, the condition can also be caused by several other factors, such as:
- Inflammation from the buildup of plaque and tartar on the gumline – this can occur due to inadequate home care and not seeing the dentist for professional cleanings frequently enough
- Inflammation in the gums and bone caused by bruxism (clenching and grinding) – Regularly clenching and grinding your teeth can cause gum recession due to the extra force that it places on your teeth
- Hormones – particularly in women, hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause can cause changes in the gums
- Genetics – you may be genetically predisposed to the condition
- Brushing too aggressively – if you brush your teeth using the wrong type of toothbrush, with too much force, or using the wrong motions, it can lead to gum recession
- Using tobacco – if you use tobacco products, you are more likely to develop plaque, which can lead to receding gums
Treatment options for gum recession
The best treatment option for gum recession depends on various factors. Drs. Lepore and Dougherty evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis and take the time to learn about you, your lifestyle, and your treatment preferences before recommending the best course of action. He may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Tissue grafting to help regenerate lost gum tissue
- Gumline fillings to replace root surface affected by trauma or decay.
- Lifestyle changes to help promote healthy gums and stop the progression of gum disease
- Deep cleaning of the teeth and gums to remove any built-up tartar and plaque that may be contributing to gum recession
- Antibiotic treatment to help manage bacteria that are causing gum inflammation and damage
Connective Tissue Graft
Tissue grafting can be done to address receding gums, which can help to prevent bone loss that would jeopardize the root surface of the teeth. Grafting can also be used to improve the look of your smile and, in some cases, may be the only way to achieve an aesthetically-pleasing outcome.
This procedure involves taking gum tissue from another area of the mouth and placing it in the area of recession. The area is sutured and given time to heal. Your doctor will let you know when the area is fully recovered. Once healed, your gums will be returned to a healthy level that protects the underlying area and results in an improved smile.
When repairing a non-carious cervical lesion, your doctor may recommend using composite to restore the structure, shape, and appearance of your tooth.
During the first step, the damaged portion of your tooth is prepared and shaped to allow the composite material to bond effectively to it. Next, a special bonding agent is applied to the prepared area. This bonding process helps to ensure that the composite will attach to the natural tooth structure.
A special curing light is then used to set the bonding fluid. Your doctor then applies the composite material to fill the prepared area and shapes it to match the contours of your tooth surface. Again using the special curing light, the shaped composite is hardened and set in place.
As a final step, your doctor will polish the composite to smoothen it and give it a similar sheen to the rest of your tooth.
Once completed, the lesion has been repaired, and your tooth structure is restored to optimal strength and appearance.
If you are in the Dunedin, FL area or surrounding communities, call Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry at (727) 608-4690 to schedule a consultation about your gum recession treatment options today!