What is Gum Recession?Gum recession is a condition in which the gums around the teeth starts to pull away from the tooth, making the root, the top part of your teeth, exposed. Your roots are typically covered and protected by your gums. Many people find that their teeth are more sensitive to hot, cold, spicy, sweet, or acidic foods when the roots of their teeth become exposed. Wearing braces is most commonly responsible for gum recession, but it can happen for various reasons. Gum recession due to braces is caused by the pressure of the braces on the gums, causing it to recede. In some cases, this pressure can cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed. In other cases, the braces may force the teeth into new positions, which can also cause gum recession.
How Common is Gum Recession from Braces?Gum recession from braces is relatively common. In fact, 400,000 people in the U.S. develop gum recession from braces every year. However, it is usually not a serious condition, with most people not even recognizing mild gum recession. Severe cases, however, can be harmful to your dental health and can put you at risk of tooth loss in the future.
Why Do Braces Cause Gum Recession?Braces can cause gum recession in two ways: either by putting pressure on the gums or by forcing the teeth into new positions. In some cases, people may be born with a small jawbone or have missing teeth, causing the remaining teeth to be crowded. When braces are put on, this crowding becomes worse and can lead to gum recession. People who have braces are also more likely to develop gum disease because it is challenging to keep the teeth and gums clean when you have braces. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that damages the gums and can lead to tooth loss.
How Can I Prevent Gum Recession from Braces?There are a few things you can do to prevent gum recession from braces:
- Keep your teeth and gums clean: Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce your risk of gum disease.
- Avoid hard foods: Chewing on hard candy, ice, or nuts can damage your gums, making it more likely to recede.
- Use a braces guard: A braces guard is a rubber or silicone pad that covers the brackets on your braces. It helps protect the gums from irritation caused by braces.
- Avoid tobacco-based products: Not only does smoking affect your overall health, but smokers also have a much higher risk of contracting gum disease.
- See your dentist regularly: Getting regular dental check-ups will allow your dentist to catch and treat any early signs of gum disease before it becomes severe.
Treatment for Gum RecessionIf you have gum recession from braces, wait until your braces are removed. In most cases, the gums will grow back once the braces no longer put pressure on it. However, the gums may not grow back at all in some cases. If this happens, you may need to see a periodontist for treatment. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in treating conditions of the gums and bones around the teeth. There are a few different treatments that a periodontist can use to treat gum recession:
- Soft tissue grafts: A small piece of gum tissue is taken from another part of your mouth and placed over the area of receding gums.
- Bone grafts: If the bone around your teeth has been damaged by gum disease, a small amount of bone may be taken from another part of your body and placed in the affected area.
- Tissue-stimulating proteins: These proteins help promote the growth of new gums.
- Brush biopsy: This procedure removes a small sample of gum tissue from the affected area to be examined for signs of gum disease.
Can I Wear Braces if My Gums Have Already Receded?Of course, especially if you only have mild gum recession! However, if your gum recession is severe, you may need to have surgery to correct it before getting braces. If you have braces and notice that your gums are receding, be sure to see your dentist so that they can monitor the situation and make sure that it doesn’t worsen. Also, make sure to maintain good oral health as a preventative measure. Remember, prevention is better than cure!
Does Gum Recession Mean I Shouldn’t Get Braces?While gum recession is something to be aware of if you have braces, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get them! Just be sure to take care of your teeth and gums to avoid gradual gum recession. Consult with your dentist to explore your options. If, however, you are suffering from severe gum recession, there are surgical options available to treat it. Just ask your orthodontist!
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