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FAQ:  Receding Gums



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Receding Gums Ask The Periodontist Marie Schweinebraten Question:
I have receding gums on my bottom front teeth.

My dentist says it's due to brushing too hard so I have been brushing better for a few months (I floss everyday and use mouthwash). I also have been eating healthier.

My gums continue to recede. The gaps in between my teeth are getting bigger and bigger. I've been to 3 dentists / periodontists and they all say that there's slight recession but my gums are fine.

They've even complimented me on my dental habits. But the gaps in between my teeth are getting bigger and my gums are now sore.

What's wrong with them and what can I do to stop the recession that I haven't already tried? ... Visitor from NY

Answer:
The lower front teeth are ones that are susceptible to getting recession.

Your dentist is correct in that one of the most common reasons recession occurs is that people brush too vigorously, use a stiff toothbrush, or even use an electric brush and "scrub" with it rather than letting the brush do the work.

Another factor, unfortunately, is that recession occurs naturally with age. I do not know how old you are, but all of us will get some recession on our teeth as we get older.

When you are seen by a periodontist or dentist, they evaluate not only the amount of recession you have but also the type of gum tissue that is around the necks of the teeth. You should have at least a small amount of what is called attached gum tissue , which is the kind on the roof of your mouth. This is thicker and stronger than the soft gum tissue that is inside your lip or on your cheek.

If this attached tissue is present, then the recession is normally not treated. It will be monitored by your dentist to determine if the recession is occurring too rapidly. Treatment to just fill the spaces between your teeth is unpredictable and the spaces alone, when everything is healthy, are not usually treated. It sounds as though you are taking good care of your teeth. If three periodontists have told you that treatment is not needed, then I would make sure you clean the area gently, use a soft brush, maybe avoid an electric toothbrush, and have the recession monitored every six months or so.

If the spaces become larger then surgery could be considered but realize it may not give you the results you expect, or sometimes some type of restoration can be put on the teeth, but again, to prepare teeth that have no fillings and are perfect just to close spaces in this area, is not ideal.

Hope this answers your questions.

Marie C. Schweinebraten, DMD
Atlanta Periodontist
2925 Premiere Parkway
Duluth, GA 30097
(770) 623-0930

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