I had a toothache on and off for six months that got so bad that I finally scheduled an appointment with an urgent care dentist. The dentist said I had a cavity in my canine tooth because the gums above it were thin and had pulled away from my teeth. I set up an appointment to have the cavity filled, and the dentist said that I have a lot of gum recession and three other teeth had gum recession, and I would likely get cavities in them, too. The dentist wants to refer me to a gum specialist. How do I know that gum recession is really the problem? Can receding gums cause cavities? Thanks. Levi from Uniondale, NY
Thank you for contacting Cornerstone Dentistry in Sugar Land regarding gum recession and cavities. We commend you for scheduling an urgent dental appointment instead of delaying care.
Can Gum Recession Cause Cavities?
Gum recession exposes teeth and their roots and increases the risk of cavities. According to the American Association of Periodontology, when you notice gum recession, it is one aspect of periodontal recession, affecting your gums, teeth ligaments, and the bone surrounding your teeth. Your teeth can also become sensitive to brushing and hot or cold foods.
What Causes Gum Recession?
- Gum recession causes include the following:
- Gum disease
- Aggressive teeth brushing
- Misaligned teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Autoimmune conditions that may cause gum tissue destruction
What Is the Treatment for Gum Recession?
When tooth root exposure exceeds 3mm, a dentist or periodontist may recommend tissue gum grafting. During a gum graft procedure, you can expect your dentist or periodontist (gum specialist) to do the following:
- Numb your gums with a local anesthetic
- Take tissue from the roof of your mouth or use another donor source for tissue
- Place the tissue in areas of recession
- Secure the graft with stitches
- Your gums will heal in two to three weeks.
How Can You Prevent Gum Recession?
You can prevent gum recession after your dentist identifies its cause. Recommendations may include:
- Brushing your teeth more gently
- Wearing a night guard to minimize teeth grinding
- Gum disease treatment
- Orthodontic treatment for teeth alignment
If you are uncomfortable with the gum graft recommendation from your dentist, you can get a second opinion from a skilled dentist or periodontist.
Sugar Land, Texas dentist Dr. Siny Thomas sponsors this post.