Long, Sensitive Teeth From Gum Recession

Posted on Aug 27, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Gum recession occurs when gum tissues that frame the teeth wear or pull away. This exposes dark areas of the tooth’s root, which tend to be sensitive to hot, cold or brushing. Gum recession also causes “long” teeth, which detracts from one’s smile.

Receded gums are also a sign of gum disease. This occurs from the formation of “pockets” of pus or bacterial buildup between the teeth and gum line. If untreated, the tissues and bone that support the teeth can be damaged and eventually result in tooth loss.

In most cases, gum recession occurs gradually. The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity or teeth that seem longer. Although gum disease is the leading cause of recession, there are other factors that can lead to gum recession as well, including:

Being too rigorous in tooth brushing: Brushing your teeth with too much pressure or “scrubbing” teeth with a hard bristle tooth brush can cause the enamel on teeth to wear away and the gums to recede.

Poor dental hygiene: When your brushing and flossing regimen is insufficient, bacterial accumulation results in plaque, which turns into calculus. Plaque (also known as tartar) is a cement-like substance that can only be removed from teeth by a professional.

Smoking: The chemicals in tobacco are drying to oral tissues. This increases your likelihood for the formation of plaque on teeth, which can lead to gum recession.

Grinding and clenching teeth: When you clench or grind your teeth at night, the force this places on teeth can cause the gums to recede.

Female hormonal fluctuations: When hormonal levels change, such as occurs in puberty, pregnancy and menopause, the gums can be more sensitive and more susceptible to gum recession.

Crooked teeth or bite misalignment: When teeth are not in proper alignment, there is added force placed on the gums and supporting bone. This often leads to gum recession.

Exposed areas of teeth can cause sensitivity as well as make you more susceptible to decay or gum disease. Repairing these areas can be performed in our office comfortably and quickly.

The best time to treat gum recession is as soon as it is noticed. Don’t wait until the gums have pulled away to the extent where more involved grafting is required. When caught early, your time and expense in treatment will be minimal. Call (828) 274-9440 for more information.

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