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FAQ:  Receding Gums



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Question:
Receding Gums: I have been trying to find a dentist. It has taken months to find one. Then when I do, they seem to cancel on me. My gums are receding.

I think my nerves are exposed and now when I push on my gums, some foul tasting substance comes out.. yucky. I know I need a dentist but can you tell me what is going on?... Visitor from CT

Answer:
Your question has three parts to it and if I may I would like to answer them all.

1. Due to the closing of many dental schools, the retiring of older Dentists and the ever increasing elder baby-boom population which needs greater care in these years; Dental Health care is overwhelmed with patients and understaffed with providers. This may be a reason which explains the difficulty you experience in finding an appointment.

2. When the gum tissue recedes and the root of the tooth is exposed, the inner hard material called dentine is also exposed to the outside environment. If we looked at dentine through the microscope we would see tiny tubes which extend all the way to the cells which make up the dentine and signals the nerve to what is going on. As cold temperatures or sweets touch the outside of these tubes the stimulus is extended to the nerve and you perceive it has pain. Sometimes it is helpful to use a desensitizing toothpaste or to have a coating placed over these areas to block or fill the outside entrance to the dentinal tubules.

3. If you apply pressure to the gums and a foul tasting substance extrudes out this is a sign of an infection. The infection is related to a disease called Periodontitis and will lead to tooth loss if not treated properly. The first thing that needs to be done is to have the teeth cleaned by a dentist. The area may need to have antibiotics placed directly in it, and if the problem is severe and the teeth salvageable then periodontal surgery may be needed.

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