How many times have you left your dentist’s office feeling like you just weren’t taking good enough care of your teeth? Maybe you aren’t flossing enough, or correctly, or brushing your teeth often enough, or correctly. Or perhaps you’re not getting your bi-annual checkups like you should. We have all had a talking to when it comes to the dentist. But, it’s with good reason that the dentist may be on your case about your oral hygiene. It’s not just because they want you to keep that pearly white smile, but oral hygiene can actually affect your health.
Studies show that 50% of people between 18 and 64 years of age have gum recession.
What is gum recession?
The gums are the part of the mouth that surround and protect the roots of the teeth. Gum recession happens when the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the tooth pulls back, exposing more of the root. When gum recession happens, gaps form between the tooth and the gum line, making the gums more vulnerable to disease-causing bacteria. Gum recession can lead to our roots feeling super sensitive, especially to cold liquids or food. If gum recession goes untreated, it can severely damage the supporting tissue and bone structure of the tooth. In severe cases, gum recession leads to tooth loss.
How does gum recession start?
Most people will not know that they have gum recession because it occurs gradually. The first sign is typically sensitivity to cold liquids or foods. If you’re eating ice cream and you get a sharp pain when you take a bite, that could be a sign. This is not something you want to ignore. If you think your gums may be receding, make an appointment with your dentist.
What causes gum recession?
There are several reasons for why your gums may be receding. Some of these reasons include:
- Periodontal diseases:This disease attacks the gum tissue and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place through bacterial gum infections. Gum disease is one of the most common causes of gum recession.
- Genes:Unfortunately, your genes can determine whether you get gum disease or not. Studies have shown that 30% of the population might be predisposed to gum disease. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you take care of your dental hygiene.
- Rough tooth brushing:You don’t want to brush your teeth too hard. This could cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away and your gums to recede.
- Bad dental hygiene:Insufficient brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash can make you more susceptible to gum disease and gum recession. That’s because it makes it easier for plaque to turn into calculus. This hard substance builds up between your teeth and can lead to gum disease.
- Hormonal changes:Sometimes, changes in female hormone levels during a woman’s lifetime can make gums more sensitive and thus susceptible to recession. These changes can include puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.
Is gum recession preventable?
In general, keeping up good oral hygiene is one way to prevent gum recession. Brush your teeth gently, and don’t forget to floss. Also, make sure you’re seeing your dentist twice a year, or as recommended. If you start to notice early signs of gum recession, Woodland Hills-based dentist Dr. Kaveh Kanani of Around the Corner Dental Spa recommends using Sensodyne toothpaste as an early preventer.
Can gum recession be treated?
Slight gum recession might be treatable by your dentist through deep cleaning the affected area. The deep cleaning will carefully remove the plaque and tartar that has built up on the teeth and root surfaces before the gum line. Antibiotics could also be given to remove any remaining bacteria that may be harmful. If the patient’s gum recession cannot be treated through deep cleaning due to bone loss, gum surgery may be required.
Traditionally, gum recession would be treated through a very invasive technique. This technique would involve taking a piece of gum from the palate, flapping the infected gum open, placing the palate in, and then suturing it closed. However, this traditional method would cause a lot of pain to the patient. It’s also expensive, and very invasive.
Dr. Kanani’s Pinhole Surgery method to treat gum recession
For the last few years, Dr. Kanani has been performing his unique pinhole surgery method to treat patients with severe gum recession. Dr. Kanani goes into the patient’s mouth with a tool that’s literally the size of a pen. Entering through a small hole in the gum, Dr. Kanani lifts the gum up, drops it down, and adds a connective tissue. The connective tissue is not taken from the patient. The benefits of this method to treat gum recession are:
- No pain
- It’s a flap-less procedure, meaning there’s no need to completely open up the gums
- Once the procedure is done, the hole that was created heals within 24 hours. This means that there’s no need to suture the gum closed after the procedure.
As a worst-case scenario, the patient might experience a little bit of swelling from the procedure for a couple days. But it’s painless and quick. In fact, a patient’s entire upper jaw can be completed in an hour. Overall, the procedure is minimally invasive and leads to faster healing times, and less pain, for the patient.
Dr. Kanani also utilizes the Pinhole Surgery technique for patients who have had dental implants. When the patient has little bone to begin with, sometimes the implant will start to show through the gum line. In this case, the Pinhole Surgery technique was done and you would have never known there was an issue in the first place.
Dr. Kanani’s Pinhole Surgery technique is much more affordable than traditional procedures used to treat gum recession. A patient will only pay approximately $350 per tooth with Dr. Kanani’s procedure. This compares to the $700 per tooth cost with regular dental surgeries to heal gum recession.
“It’s very exciting. Things that we did back then compared to today, it’s like caveman surgery then compared to the type of surgeries we do today.” – Dr. Kaveh Kanani
Are you suffering from gum recession, or think you might be in the beginning stages of it? Call Dr. Kanani today at (818) 962-1141 for a free consultation. Dr. Kanani’s Woodland-Hills-based Around the Corner Dental Spa is one of the most trusted dental health sources in the Valley. For more information, visit www.woodlandhillsdentalspa.com.