Gum tissue is an essential part of our smiles. Our gums not only help to support our teeth, but also prevent bacteria from reaching our tooth roots. When gum tissue begins to pull back from the teeth, it can result in painful sensitivity, infection, and even tooth loss.
Since gum disease affects nearly half of all American adults, getting your gums evaluated as part of your regular dental checkups is an important part of protecting your smile.
Here, we answer some of your most frequently asked questions when you’re concerned about your gum health and the possibility that you might have gingivitis or its advanced version, periodontal (gum) disease.
What Could Be Causing My Gum Recession?
Gum recession happens when gum tissue begins to recede or pull back from the teeth. You might notice that your teeth have a longer appearance or be seeing brownish tissue near the gumline which could indicate exposed tooth root.
You may also experience mild to severe tooth sensitivity when gum recession is present. But what could be causing your gums to pull away from the teeth?
There are several possible causes of gum recession. You may be brushing your teeth too aggressively with a toothbrush that has stiff bristles, which can irritate the gum tissue. You should always brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your teeth while removing plaque.
Receding gums may also be the result of gum disease, in which plaque and bacteria build up near the gumline and cause the gum tissue to become inflamed and can even cause infection underneath the gumline. By removing any plaque and tartar present, your Asheville dentist can help reverse this early stage of gum disease.
Smoking is another common reason gum recession may be happening, as cigarette smoke also irritates the gum tissue and can cause it to pull away from the teeth. It’s important to find out the cause of your gum recession with your dentist, as professional treatment is the only thing that can restore gum tissue that’s receding.
My Gums Bleed Sometimes. What Does This Mean?
Bleeding gums are usually trying to tell you something! While bleeding gums could be the result of brushing too hard, getting an exam with your dentist in Asheville can determine whether or not your bleeding gums are actually a sign of gum disease.
If you haven’t flossed in a while and are just starting again, it’s normal to see a bit of blood or irritation until your mouth gets used to your flossing routine again. However, bleeding gums could also be a sign of gum disease.
Getting a checkup can help ensure that your gums get the treatment they need if gum disease is found to be causing your bleeding gums. Even if your gums are just bleeding on occasion, your dentist can help you determine the cause and implement a treatment if necessary.
Could My Child Have Gum Disease?
Yes, it’s possible for children and teenagers to have gum disease. In fact, some experts speculate that teenagers are more at risk due to changing hormones in the body.
Your child could also be genetically predisposed to have gum disease and therefore be more likely to get the disease earlier in life. Bacteria that cause gum disease may also be able to be transferred from mother to child via saliva.
However, getting a checkup with your dentist can help you determine if your child has gum disease and what you can do about it. Catching gum disease in its early stages increases the chances for a successful treatment!
My Gums Feel Fine Why Do I Need a Checkup?
In many cases, gum disease won’t cause noticeable symptoms until the disease has progressed. Many patients won’t experience major discomfort as a result of their gum disease, especially in its early stages, when the disease is more easily treated.
This is especially true for people who smoke or chew tobacco as well as people who use e-cigarettes. The nicotine in these products inhibits blood supply to the gum tissue, which can conceal symptoms of gum disease until the condition becomes severe.
Even if your gums look and feel fine, an exam with your dentist can catch gum disease and treat it before it gets worse. Gum disease is generally easier to reverse if caught early!
It Feels Like My Teeth Have Shifted. Is This a Symptom of Gum Disease?
Shifting teeth could happen for a variety of reasons, but one of these reasons is gum disease. Since gum disease can attack the connective tissue that helps to hold your teeth in place, loose teeth are often a symptom of gum disease, especially if the condition has progressed.
Only an exam with your dentist can tell if your shifting teeth are the result of gum disease that’s affecting your smile!
I’m Pregnant Should I Be Worried About My Swollen Bleeding Gums?
Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can certainly affect gum tissue. An increased risk for gum disease is one of the oral health risks that pregnant women experience.
If you’re pregnant and notice that your gums are tender, bleeding, or red, it’s time to get a checkup with your Asheville dentist. Although gum disease that’s brought on by pregnancy can subside once your pregnancy has ended, leaving gum disease untreated during this time can have consequences for you and your baby.
In fact, mothers who have gum disease are more likely to give birth prematurely or to babies who have a low birth weight, so getting treatment for your gum disease is important. You can talk to your dentist about your symptoms and possible treatment during your pregnancy!
How Can I Treat Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a progressive condition. If the problem isn’t taken care of, it will continue to get worse. To properly treat gum disease, you need treatment from a professional dentist. Depending on how severe your gum disease is, you may need one or more of the follow treatments:
- Deep Cleaning. Also known as scaling and root planing, this deep cleaning at the dentist’s is designed to remove debris including plaque, bacteria, and any infection below the gumline. For patients with gingivitis, this may be the only treatment that’s needed.
- Antibiotics. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to help clear up any infection that may be present due to your gum disease.
- Additional Measures. For people who have severe periodontal disease, surgery may be necessary to help remove deep pockets of infection and restore connective tissue near the gumline.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, getting a comprehensive exam with your dentist is going to be an instrumental first step in getting the issue resolved. Gum disease can wreak havoc on your smile and is not something you want to ignore. Schedule a dental exam with us at Saunders DDS to ensure your smile is healthy and free of gum disease!