Periodontics and Endodontics
Receding gums occur when the healthy gum tissue around your teeth begins to disappear. Many people don’t notice subtle changes in their gumline, but you might notice an unusual sensitivity to cold or sweet. As well as a cosmetic issue, gum recession can contribute to serious health problems including tooth loss. At Grove Avenue Smiles, our in-house team led by Dr. Jeff Norrgard, can identify and treat gum recession so it doesn’t become a serious detriment to your health or self image.
Who Should Be Concerned About Gum Recession?
Some people believe mild gum recession is not a problem, or that gum recession is only a problem that the elderly need to be concerned about. In fact, any gum recession at any age is dangerous. Receding gums expose vulnerable gum tissue and tooth roots to bacteria, increasing the danger of cavities and gum disease. Also, when the gums begin to recede, the underlying bone tissue also recedes. When teeth lose their support structure they can become loose and, if left untreated, eventually fall out.
What Causes Gums to Recede?
It’s possible to develop gum recession even if you visit your dentist often and have great dental hygiene. Receding gums can be caused by any of the following:
- Gum disease
- Misaligned teeth
- Overly aggressive brushing
- Using a toothbrush with too-hard bristles
Treatments for Gum Recession
Fortunately, there are a number of both surgical and non-surgical remedies for receding gums, all of which can lessen or eliminate the dangers that gum loss brings. When gum recession is caused by gum disease, we can often stop and even reverse the recession by treating the infection. For early cases of gum disease, gum loss can be stopped with a thorough cleaning below the gumline, called “scaling and root planing”. This treatment clears away the plaque and tartar that irritates the gums and creates a haven for bacteria. We offer this procedure as a first step to controlling gum disease and is followed by regular periodontal maintenance visits.
How Root Canals Work
A tooth ache typically means the root of a tooth is infected. Even if you don’t feel pain yet, your dentist may recommend a root canal to stop an infection before it causes pain and damages tissue. At Grove Avenue Smiles our team is well-trained and experienced in saving infected teeth. We’ll work quickly to find the cause of your pain, ease it, and halt the effects of the infection. In some cases we may recommend a root canal, in other cases we may recommend alternatives.
To understand a root canal procedure, it helps to know about the anatomy of the tooth. The outermost and hardest layer is called enamel and the second layer is dentin. In the middle of the tooth is a soft tissue called the pulp, The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue.
When a dentist or endodontist determines a root canal is needed, they will drill down to the pulp and use a specialized tool to remove any infected or inflamed tissue. They’ll disinfect the area and apply a material to ensure the tooth roots remain infection free. Then they’ll repair the tooth and you should be able to use your natural tooth without pain for many years.
Don’t Delay Visiting The Dentist
Your dentist will be able to explain the exact reason for damage to the tooth. The important thing is to come in and have it taken care of before the infection spreads affecting your jaw, other teeth, and even other parts of your body. In many cases a root canal will be the best, least invasive treatment option to save the tooth. In extreme cases, where the infection is advanced, the tooth may need to be extracted. In this case we can replace it with a natural looking and functioning dental implant.
If you are experiencing pain in your tooth or jaw, you have cavities, or you just haven’t been seen a dentist for a while, schedule an appointment at Grove Avenue Smiles as soon as possible.