Providing Better Smiles to Calgary & nearby areas of Alberta
I often hear: “I’m getting old so my gums will recede.” Sorry, but that is not something we can blame on age alone. Yes, we all get long in the tooth but our teeth should not!! Receding gums can be a sign of much more serious issues, such as periodontal disease (gum disease), bite problems such as grinding and clenching, postural issues in the body and even evidence of sleep disorders.
Unfortunately, many people including health care professionals believe that gum recession is normal or a sign of brushing too hard. It’s neither. Actually gums only recede if the bone below the gums is breaking down. The gum recession follows bone loss and the only thing keeping those teeth in your smile is the bone they sit in. Lose the bone and you lose the teeth. Because gum recession happens gradually, it isn’t always easy to tell if your gums are receding.
The following are some signs to look for:
- Tooth sensitivity, caused by exposed tooth roots.
- The tooth appears longer than normal.
- A notch can be felt at the base of the tooth, near the gumline.
Knowing the cause is important because we will not be able to effectively treat the recession without knowing the actual cause. If gum disease is causing your gum recession, your dentist or periodontist might recommend an intense cleaning process known as scaling and root planning to reduce the presence of bacteria. If misalignment is the cause, then a bite analysis for potential TMJ issues is necessary along with postural analysis such as neck alignment and back problems. A poor posture can lead to clenching and grinding which is a major contributor to gum recession. One common way to repair the damage is to graft skin, usually taken from the roof of the mouth, to cover the root. You can also take some steps at home to reduce the sensitivity of your teeth, such as by using special toothpaste. Also applying a desensitizing agent or filling the notches along the gumline with a tooth-coloured filling material may be required. Don’t put off gum recession treatment, it is the sign that something is wrong. Gums do not recede because they decide to. If you are in the Calgary area, please contact Dr. Silver for a free consultation concerning your receding gum-line.
Dr. Jennifer Silver is a highly accomplished dental surgeon with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her educational accomplishments include deans honours list, an oral surgery award and best research project. Prior to this degree, she graduated with honors from Dalhousie University’s Dental Hygiene Program and worked in this field for 10 years.
The areas of dentistry that holds special interest for Dr. Silver include oral medicine and whole-body dentistry. She currently devotes time and resources toward helping patients with TMJ pain and sleep apnea, while continuing to provide general dentistry as well. Future interests include devoting time to additional oral surgery training. Jen strives to treat her patients as if they were family. She strongly believes in a multi-disciplinary approach for patient care. She is part of a large network of specialists that she trusts and collaborates with when helping patients.