While receding gums can happen to anyone, the most common cause traces back to poor dental hygiene. This creates inflammation in the tissue of the gums, an immune system reaction to plaque and tartar below the normal gum line. Physical wear of the gums may also contribute, particularly as you age, but you may also inherit genetic factors that make you more prone to gum recession. Over-active brushing with hard-bristle brushes can also damage your gums sufficiently enough to create receding gums.
The problems caused by receding gums include sensitivity to cold and hot food or drink since more of your teeth’s roots are exposed. The risk of decay rises, both because of the additional tooth exposure and because of the pocket formation below the gum line that traps bacteria in increasing quantities. Receding gums may create a cosmetic issue that saps your confidence in your smile, and the end result of recession can be tooth loss.
Treatment depends on severity. In mild cases, dental cleaning and increased attention to oral care at home may be sufficient for gum tissue to bounce back. If you’re seeing Dr. Mandel regularly for checkups, this is likely the only experience you may have with receding gums.
In more advanced cases, aggressive cleaning and treatment below the gum line may be necessary to restore your teeth and gums to optimal health. Tooth scaling removes plaque and tartar, and root planing smooths the surface of your teeth to encourage your gums to reattach. However, these techniques don’t directly address the restoration of receding gums.
In the past, surgery to graft tissue over receding gums was the norm, using a scalpel to first harvest tissue from inside your mouth and then relocate it over areas of gum recession. This procedure requires stitches in the roof of your mouth and in your gums, plus a period of downtime for recovery.
Dr. Mandel uses the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique. It’s a scalpel-free, suture-free technique that uses special instruments that loosen and relocate gum tissue through small holes made with a needle. Compared to grafting surgery, there’s little post-procedure bleeding, inflammation, or pain. In many cases, cosmetic improvements are immediate.
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