Smile pretty this summer
Gingival recession, where the gums recede off the tooth, affects many people, especially as we grow older, but it can become a problem at any age. In fact, according to one study, while 88% of adults age 65 and older experience gingival recession, 50% of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 develop it in multiple sites. Correlations between recession and past orthodontic treatment, and tongue and lip piercing in young adults have also surfaced.
When gums recede, the gumline is often left with uneven margins, and dentin and roots may be exposed, making teeth appear unusually long — not a great look for most of us. It can also result in tooth sensitivity, hasten bone degeneration, and expose roots to the ravages of root decay.
The etiology of gingival recession is actually a pretty mixed bag, ranging from poor oral hygiene to overly enthusiastic brushing with hard bristles and poor technique. Habits such as bruxism and tobacco chewing are also said to be contributing factors. And it may be precipitated by various types of oral surgery. But some people are simply anatomically predisposed to it.
Whatever the cause, gingival recession is sure to progress if left untreated. No matter how good the self-care is. This is especially true for older adults with xerostomia, (dry mouth) for whom the risk of root caries is high. Fortunately, much can be done to both prevent and treat recession.
Treatment options depend on the degree of the recession. For patients at risk for root caries, thorough plaque removal and good oral hygiene are indicated. Application of fluoride and other therapeutic agents, such as silver diamine fluoride, are also beneficial. Restorative options may include the use of glass ionomer cement. An option for root coverage is gingival grafting by a periodontist.
To relieve hypersensitivity, nonsurgical treatments may involve the topical application of formulations such as fluoride varnish, which can also be applied as a preventive measure against root caries.
Isolation plays a significant role in treating gingival recession as many of the agents and therapies mentioned above require it. For instance, moisture control is tremendously important to the success of fluoride varnish application and use of most restorative materials.
Fortunately, with isolation systems such as Dr. Chiffer can enjoy the benefits of efficiency, a clear, dry field, and safety, courtesy of a flexible, transparent mouth shield that protects patients from aspiration of foreign objects.
Not every case of gingival recession warrants an all-hands-on-deck approach. But timely diagnosis and appropriate intervention will give you the best chance of helping you keep your teeth well into your golden years.
If you are concerned about recession, please call Nayaug Family Dental for an appointment.