Normally you do not need a dentist to show you this, but you can spot the difference in the way your teeth are looking which will tell you that you have some receding gum line problems. That is the length of your teeth might start to look longer. Also, you will start experiencing sensitivity with cold and hot drinks. This being, since the roots of your teeth might start being exposed.
What you will not notice easily is that you actually have receding gums, since it is a slow process. If it does develop, there is hope, since you could be a candidate for gum grafting treatment. This treatment will prevent any further loss of gum tissue.
The causes of receding gum
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is the most common reason behind gum recession. The risk factors that can lead to gum disease include problems such as bad dental health, your genetics, hormonal changes, and being diabetic. Smokers, well they have it the worst. Smokers are four-time likely to develop gum disease as compared to their nonsmoking friends.
Bad health habits and genetics are not the only reason for gum disease. Even our good attentions could lead to problems. Belligerently and incorrect brushing techniques, coupled with grinding your teeth, and even those with a tongue and lip piecing can rub and vex the gums, wearing the gum tissue away.
The treatment procedure for receding gums
First step for treating receding gums is to avoid it by going for regular check-ups and cleanings. Other than that, during the check-up visits, your dentist will remove the heavy tartar build-up. This will stop the receding, but will not reverse the damage caused. Still, your dentist can also scale the teeth and conduct a root planing; these will also remove bacterial plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and root surfaces. These procedures will help to heal your gums and stop them from receding anymore.
However, if the receding is far-reaching, then your dentist can suggest you undergo gum tissue graft surgery. This will repair the affected areas where there is a loss of gum, but it can also prevent any further infections from occurring. Now your dentist might suggest different types of gum graft options. Your unique problem and extend of the damage will guide the choice. These options can include:
- A connective-tissue graft, which is the commonest grafting technique. Tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth than then stitched over the affected area where the root is exposed.
- Free gingival grafts are like connective-tissue graft, but the graft is from palate directly.
- Pedicle grafts, the graft is taken from the adjacent tooth.
- The dentist can use donor tissue, but it needs to match your own and it is at higher risk of rejection than using your own tissue.
Undergoing a gum tissue graft can stop receding gums, but also bone loss, and reduce tooth sensitivity; and protect your tooth’s roots from decay. Plus, this process can prevent your losing your teeth.
Recovery and complications
After the grafting procedure, you will be able to go home. But do make prior arrangements that someone can take you home, or arrange for a taxi. That is since the sedatives will leave you groggy and it is best that you do not drive yourself.
In most cases, your dentist will tell you how to take care of yourself post the surgery. But ideally you should get this information before you go in, then you will have everything prepared, and it will reduce your stress levels a bit. These will include a prescription for the pain, since it will be painful. If the dentist took tissue from your palate, then the healing time will take longer. So just, keep that in mind. You should also not floss or brush your gum line until it has healed. Rising out your mouth will be the best. The dentist will suggest a special mouthwash you should use, but your dentist might also put you on an antibiotic for a time, which will cut your risk of an infection.
Two weeks after the procedure, you will still have problems eating. This is normal. You should restrict your diet to soft food, like soups and eggs. However, do keep it healthy, as a diet of jelly and ice cream will only prolong the healing.
Post the recovery
A gum tissue graft should be effective at fixing your receding gums and prevent future damage. However, this is no guarantee. The problem can happen again.
What you should do is to make sure that you keep to regular check-ups, do brush correctly, eat healthy and do not smoke. This way you can preserve your smile and prevent other health complications.