Receding gums can really sneak up on you if you are not careful. Typically gum recession is a very slow process that may not be noticeable at first, until you begin to see the roots of the teeth. Your dentist measures gum recession in millimeters and even two millimeters of attachment loss is significant. Here are some typical signs that you may be suffering from receded gums.
When you have receded gums, a portion of the root is exposed to outside elements. They were not meant to be exposed and often respond with hypersensitivity. Even simple tooth brushing along the gum lines can cause an intense pain that feels as if the nerve has been exposed.
Sensitivity is due to the exposed pores on the root surfaces. These pores have nerve endings that extend from inside of the tooth to the outside of the tooth. When gums recede, stimulation can reach the pores and send jolting signals toward the nerve.
Exposed Root Surfaces
The portion of tooth anatomy that is under enamel is called dentin. Dentin appears yellow next to the white tooth enamel and is exposed when the gums recede. When you see this yellow area next to a defined white crown, you will know that recession has occurred.
Redness And Swelling
If your gum recession is related to gum disease or periodontitis, there will be some inflammation and swelling associated with the area of gum recession. When plaque biofilm, tartar and other bacteria thrive near and under the gum lines, the body's natural response is to destroy the attachment of the gums in the area. This causes infection and receding gums.
Teeth That Appear Longer Than Normal
When gums recede, the root of the tooth is exposed between the dental crown and the gum lines. The result is the appearance of a long tooth. Only one tooth may appear long or your entire smile may seem to be made up of long teeth. This appearance is due to receded gums.
Spaces Between Teeth
The appearance of dark spaces between your teeth near the gum lines is due to the loss of the gum papilla between the teeth. As gums recede, this sharp point of gum tissue is lost, as it creeps away with the other supporting gum tissue. The result is dark spaces between the teeth that were formerly covered with gum tissue.
As the gums recede and cause spaces between the teeth to be exposed, food easily becomes packed and lodged in these areas. Typically you will find one or more particular spaces that food packs in the majority of the time. Naturally these areas should be covered by gums and prevent food from lodging in the space. When food packs in problem areas it tends to compound and cause a consistent area of irritation and infection when not completely removed. This leads to further gum recession.
Association With Gum Disease
Food packs between the teeth but especially in the gum pockets that are formed beneath the gum lines against the teeth. As gums recede it also causes less tissue to be attached to the root of the tooth. Gums with natural healthy pockets measure up to two or three millimeters deep. As gums become diseased and lose attachment, the pockets become deeper.
If you have gum recession that measures a significant five or six millimeters, it can be very serious because even with an area of no infection there will be an additional two to three millimeters of unattached gums within the pocket. If infection does exist, the pocket could be four millimeters or deeper. When combined with deep gum disease pockets, gum recession can be very serious and evidence of possible future tooth loss.
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