There’s no denying how important our teeth are. From helping us chew the food we eat to helping us speak clearly, we depend on our teeth. What some people don’t realize is that the gums that hold our teeth are just as important to our well-being.
One of the issues we see fairly often at our Edgewood, KY, dentist office is gum recession. Gum recession is when the tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away or pulls away, exposing more of the tooth or its root.
We detect gum recession by seeing pockets, or gaps, between the teeth and the gumline. These pockets make it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. The earlier you fix it, the better. If the condition is left untreated, it could damage the supporting tissue and bone structure of your teeth. This can result in tooth loss.
Who Do Gums Recede?
For some people, gum disease is in the genes and they are just more prone to developing it. But it can also be caused by other factors, such as:
- Too-rigorous tooth brushing. Hard, rigorous brushing (and using a brush with bristles that are too stiff) can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away and your gums to recede.
- Hormonal changes, like those that occur in puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can make gums more vulnerable as well.
- Smoking. People who use tobacco are more likely to have sticky plaque on their teeth, which causes gum recession.
- Insufficient dental care. Tartar buildup gives bacterial plaque a place to thrive in the area surrounding your teeth. We can’t overestimate the importance of brushing, flossing, and using a good antiseptic mouthwash
Of course, it’s not easy, even with the most thorough brushing, to get to those back molars and all the crevices between your teeth. Crowded or overlapping teeth can also pose a challenge. If tartar does build up, it can only be removed by a dental cleaning.
When you come in for a cleaning, we will do a “pocket reading.” If we see that a pocket has deepened (by comparing those measurements to those taken the last time you were in), then we know it’s a sign of gum recession or disease.
What If My Gums Still Recede?
Gum recession is a common problem but it’s not something you want to ignore. We can treat your receding gums.
If your gum recession is mild, we can treat it by deep-cleaning the affected area. We use techniques called tooth scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and root surfaces below the gum line. We smooth the exposed root area so that it’s more difficult for bacteria to attach.
Even if your gum recession is more advanced, we can help.
One common method of treating gum recession is to graft gum tissue over your existing gums. However, Dr. McMahon is one of a limited number of dentists who can treat receding gums with a procedure called The Pinhole® technique.
This scalpel-free technique was created and patented by Dr. John Chao and has had great reviews by dentists and patients alike. (For more information about the technique, check out this article that appeared in the October 2012 issue of The International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry, a peer-review journal.)
Few dentists in the United States are certified to practice this technique. Dr. McMahon is proud to be one of them.
The Pinhole® Technique
The Pinhole® technique allows Dr. McMahon to use your healthy gums and put them back into a healthy position. For this, he uses a special instrument to gently reposition your gums, creating an attractive and comfortable gumline.
This technique means there are no incisions, grafts, or sutures to deal with. Recovery is short and completely comfortable. You can expect to go back to your normal activities within 24 hours after your treatment! The Pinhole® technique also lets you experience less pain, swelling, and discomfort as you heal.
If your dentist has recommended gum graft surgery to fix your receding gums, come see us for a second opinion. You may find out that we can treat your smile in a simpler, less-invasive way. Contact us today using our online form or give us a call at 859-474-7830. We look forward to hearing from you!