A vibrant, toothy grin is a beautiful thing. However, seeing a little too much tooth when you smile is cause for concern. Unfortunately for people with bruxism, there is a solid link between teeth grinding and gum recession. To make matter worse, gum tissues that have receded won't grow back. Thankfully, you don't have to simply accept these changes. Treatments are available, so making the right moves can protect your teeth, your gums, and your smile.
Teeth Grinding and Gum Recession
Bruxism involves repeatedly grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw, often while you are sleeping. It's much more than an annoying habit. It's a serious danger to your oral health. Bruxing can cause worn and cracked teeth.
Teeth grinding can also do a number on your gums. The pressure and motion can drive the delicate gum tissue back, receding gums. This can bare part of your teeth's roots. It can also loosen the tissue's normally tight grip on the teeth. This leads to the formation of gingival pockets, which are bad news. They provide fertile ground for bacteria to gather. This sets up a vicious, destructive cycle because the presence of bacteria can cause the gums to retreat even more.
The loss of this gum tissue is a real concern. Once it's gone, it won't grow back, and the exposed root of the tooth is more vulnerable, and so are the surrounding structures. If left untreated, gum recession can easily lead to tooth loss.
Other Causes of Gum Recession
Bruxism is just one potential cause of gum recession. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, can prompt the gums to recede. Injury can trigger it. If you don't take care of your teeth, a lack of dental hygiene may be to blame. However, in some cases, too much of a good thing could be the problem. That's because brushing your teeth too aggressively, with poor technique, or with the wrong tools can sometimes be a cause of gum recession.
Preventing Gum Recession
If you want to prevent gum recession, your best strategy may be to take your oral hygiene seriously. Make brushing teeth and flossing a regular habit, using the right toothbrush and toothpaste, and techniques to floss correctly. Be gentle. Attend your dental checkups, and ask your hygienist and dentist for pointers.
Pay special attention if your dentist mentions gum disease. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. If left untreated, it can turn into periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. This is when gum recession is a serious risk.
If you are battling bruxism, there is something else that you can do to prevent gum recession. Treat your bruxism. Here is the main question: Can teeth grinding cause gum recession? And the answer to this question is YES! Teeth grinding can cause gum recession or make it worse.
Treating bruxism can reduce the strain on your teeth and gums and prevent or slow the tide of gum recession. As Mayo Clinic indicates, there are a few options:
- Night guards: Also called oral splints, mouthguards, occlusal guard and dental appliances, these devices fit over the upper or lower teeth. Designed to keep the teeth separated, they come in varying levels of hardness, durability, quality, and comfort. Custom night guards are crafted from medical-grade products in a professional lab generally last longer. They also offer a more comfortable fit than over-the-counter mouthguards.
- Botox: Botox injections that target the jaw muscles can ease repetitive grinding and clenching.
- Medications: Medications like muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, and painkillers are sometimes used to relax the muscles and ease pain and inflammation in the jaw. In some cases, medications or treatments aimed at other medical conditions like anxiety, sleep apnea, or gastroesophageal reflux disease may also help ease bruxism.
Treating Gum Recession
If receding gums is already an issue for you, modern dentistry does offer some treatment options. In some cases, your dentist may offer you treatment in their office. If your situation is complex, they may send you to a periodontist. Periodontists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. They're also trained in treating oral inflammation and cosmetic periodontal procedures.
The right treatment for your gum recession depends on the particulars of your health situation. In some cases, your dentist or periodontist may recommend a form of deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. During this procedure, the dentist gently shifts the affected gum tissue aside. Then, they clean beneath the gum line, removing the plaque and bacteria. Finally, they smooth the gum tissue back into place, eliminating any gingival pockets in the process.
In more serious cases, gum grafts may be recommended. In traditional gum grafting, tissue is harvested from elsewhere in the mouth. Then, it's grafted into place. A new technique, the Pinhole Surgical Technique, uses a smaller incision and special tools during the grafting procedure. This can make the procedure less traumatic for the body and speed your recovery time.
If you're concerned about teeth grinding gum recession, be proactive. Talk to your dentist, and treat your bruxism with a high-quality night guard. At Pro Teeth Guard, we make it easy to get the custom-fit mouthguard that you want at an affordable price that you'll appreciate. Our night guards are crafted in a professional dental laboratory and guaranteed to fit comfortably with a 110% money-back guarantee.