Can Receding Gums Be Reversed?
Did you know that your gum health is just as important as your teeth health? Your gums are vital to your oral health, and they help keep your teeth healthy and strong. Unfortunately, gum disease impacts people of all ages, and nearly 50% of people over 30 have some form of gum disease.
The first sign of gum disease is receding gums. We have a common question: Can receding gums be reversed; unfortunately, without surgery, the answer is No.
If you suspect that your gums are receding or that you may have issues with your gums, find a good dentist to call to book an appointment. Treating gum disease early on is the best way to stop the progression of your receding gums.
Why Gums Recede from Your Teeth
Receding gums are a surprise to most patients because they believe their routine and lifestyle don't affect their gums. However, your gums are sensitive and can recede for numerous reasons.
For example, if you're brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing, you're following dentist recommendations. We recommend this same routine to everyone who enters our dental office. However, your brushing may be too aggressive and can cause:
- Damage to your tooth enamel
- Gum irritation
When you brush too hard, your gums can become irritated, which leads to the gums receding. Many people assume that the harder they brush, the more plaque they'll remove. We recommend that our patients use a soft bristle brush or even an electric toothbrush for best results.
Remain cautious when brushing around the gums so that you avoid irritation and potential gum recession.
Gum disease is another leading cause of gum recession, and this is often the most common reason for gum recession. Proper dental hygiene can help fight back against gum disease, and we recommend scheduling at least two dental cleanings with us each year. If you clench or grind your teeth during the day or night, you may also cause your gums to recede.
When you come in for a cleaning or treatment, we'll examine the gums to ensure they're healthy. If you don't remove all plaque on your teeth, plaque enters the space between the teeth and gums.
Plaque will continue to persist since your toothbrush cannot reach it and eventually turn into tartar.
Tartar is a hardened form of plaque that can begin to irritate your gums. Since the gums don't want to be continually irritated, they'll start to recede. However, you'll often notice additional signs before the gums recede, such as your gums swelling or bleeding.
Genetics and Your Receding Gums
Genetics can play a role in your gums receding. If your parents suffer from receding gums, you may, too. If you or your parents experience any of the following, you're at a higher risk of your gums receding:
- Bite alignment issues
- Crooked teeth
Your bite pattern plays a significant role in gum health. If not corrected, it can affect the long-term health of dental bridges, dental crowns, porcelain veneers, implants and other cosmetic dentistry procedures.
How to Prevent Gum Recession
Prevention is the best medicine. The best preventative measure you can take for gum recession is cleanings that will remove any plaque or tartar buildup between your teeth and gums that may cause gum recession or tooth loss.
Regular cleanings will leave your gums looking and feeling fresh, and here are some other ways to prevent gum recession:
- Use a soft toothbrush
- Be gentle when brushing along the gumline
- Use a mouthguard if you clench or grind your teeth
- Consider orthodontics if you have bite issues or crooked teeth
- Quit smoking or stop using tobacco products
A deep cleaning may be necessary if we find signs of advanced gum disease so that your gums can heal.
Gum Recession Frequently Asked Questions
If your gums are receding, you rightfully have a lot of questions. We encourage you to call us to make an appointment to help prevent your gums from receding any further. In the meantime, the following are the most asked questions about gum recession from our patients:
Why is Only One Side of my Mouth's Gums Receding?
Plaque can build up on one side of the mouth more than the other. Perhaps you're less diligent when you brush this side of the mouth, or this is where you tend to grind or clench your teeth. In either case, plaque and the eventual tartar buildup is the leading cause of your gums receding.
A few additional reasons for gums receding on one side of the mouth and not the other are:
- Wear patterns – you chew primarily on one side
- Dental trauma to one side of the mouth
- Crooked teeth
- Misaligned bite
All of these conditions can cause your gums to recede on one side of the mouth and not the other.
Why is the Gum on One Tooth Receding?
If your gums are receding only on one tooth, the leading cause is often dental trauma. The gums may be injured when you experience trauma to your teeth, such as a cut or impact when playing a sport.
For many people, the gums will heal and return to normal.
However, there are some occasions when the injury seems insignificant, but the gums have difficulty healing. In this case, your gums may remain irritated and start to recede because they cannot heal properly.
Are Receding Gums a Cause for Concern?
Yes. We don't want to scare any of our patients, but receding gums are a concern. If you suspect that your gums are receding, we want you to call us and schedule an appointment.
Receding gums may result from gum disease, and the faster the condition is treated, the better. When you call our team to schedule an appointment, we'll ask you to come into our office so that we can:
- Examine your teeth and gums
- Provide immediate gum care
- Refer for possible gum grafting with or without sedation
Immediate gum care is best early on because we can use less invasive treatment options to correct receding gums. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that you'll need a gum graft to fix your gums.
In the most severe cases, patients wait until their gums recede to the point where they begin to impact their:
- Tooth structure meaning possible additional composite fillings
But in the early stages, we may only need to perform a deep cleaning. The deep cleaning removes the plaque and tartar that brushing cannot reach. After that, we may need to prescribe an antibiotic treatment, too.
Antibiotics will help stop gum irritation and allow your gums the time they need to heal correctly.
Early detection with X-rays and treatment are the best options in all scenarios if your gums are receding.
What Happens If You Don't Seek Treatment for Receding Gums?
If you're concerned about coming into our office and pushing off having your gums treated, there is a risk of gum disease, called periodontitis, that will cause the bone to soften.
As the bone softens, you may start to lose bone and suffer from tooth loss.
Additionally, the lost bone can make the teeth feel loose. Bone loss is serious because it can impact your dental health permanently. Therefore, it's always best to have a dental professional treat your gums well before the point of bone or tooth loss occurs.
If you suspect that you have receding gums, please call to schedule an appointment to see which one of our services will be best able to serve your needs.