Gum disease is a quite common issue – more prevalent than most people realize. In fact, it is estimated that more than half of the American population has some form of bacterial infection in their gums.
The earliest stage, gingivitis, is treatable through gum disease therapy. But if it progresses into advanced periodontitis, treatment could require dental surgery. Gum disease results in swollen gums and bad breath, plus it’s the leading cause of tooth loss in America.
One of the first signs of this, also known as periodontal disease, is receding gums. Even if you get treatment for gum disease, can your gums grow back? Keep reading to find out.
What Problems Can Arise from Gum Loss?
Healthy gums are essential for both your smile and your oral health. They protect the roots of your teeth from bacteria and plaque. If your gums begin to pull away, bacteria can enter the pockets left behind to expose your tooth roots, making them vulnerable to decay and even tooth loss.
As your gum tissue starts to recede, your jawbone is also affected and begins to deteriorate. Eventually, your teeth become loose, and you may even have to remove them. Warning signs of periodontal disease that could arise before loose teeth include tender or bleeding gums, abnormal tooth sensitivity around the gumline, pain when chewing, and bad breath. Also, receding gums make your teeth look longer than they would otherwise.
Is Gum Loss Reversible?
After you have lost gum tissue, it will not grow back. This is one of many reasons why it’s essential to identify gum disease in the preliminary stages and seek treatment.
If you notice your gums receding, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible. They can conduct an assessment and recommend the best course of treatment. If gum disease is caught early enough, your dentist can perform a deep cleaning – also called root planing and scaling. It cleans out bacteria from the pockets between your gums and teeth to remove the infection and give your gums a chance to heal.
If the recession is very noticeable and painful, the dentist may recommend a gum graft to replace the lost tissue. Some of the best ways to prevent further gum loss are using proper brushing techniques and a soft-bristled toothbrush, quitting smoking, and wearing a mouthguard at night to protect your teeth.
Don’t let gum loss sneak up on you – see your dentist as soon as you experience discomfort and before you can see any difference in your gumline. In the meantime, be sure to floss daily along with your brushing routine and visit your dentist twice each year for a cleaning and exam.
About the Author
Dr. Mayda Ferguson has lived in the Metairie area since she was a girl, outside of her time spent studying at Louisiana State University and then training with a general practice residency in New Orleans. She continues to learn as much as possible about dentistry, earning a Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry in 2013 and attending many continuing education classes each year. Dr. Ferguson is well-aware of the threat posed by gum disease, so she offers gum disease therapy. She looks for the warning signs during regular checkups and cleanings. Your dental hygienist will measure any pockets that have formed between your teeth and gum line that would indicate gum disease. To schedule a cleaning and exam, visit her website or call (504) 833-2220.