Your smile is not only designed to be an appealing reflection of your personality, it is structured to be highly functional. Teeth aide in biting, chewing, speech and helping to support jaw bone mass. The design of the tooth sections you can see and the root portion each have important roles, as does the gum tissues that surround them.

To protect the sensitive root portion of a tooth, each is arched by gum tissue. When the gums pull away from the teeth, it exposes the roots to greater susceptibility of damage from oral bacteria. Without the protective layer of gum tissue over these areas, the sensitive roots are also exposed to hot, cold or the bristles of a tooth brush. Hot coffee, cold beverages or brushing across these areas can cause a sharp jolt of pain.

The process of gum recession occurs gradually. Most people do not notice it until they have pain in the area, which can be a jolt from hot or cold or an ache that may be mistaken for a cavity.

Gum recession may result from:
• Periodontal (gum) disease: When bacteria accumulate on teeth at the gum line, they destroy healthy gums. As they are weakened, the gums lose their grip on teeth. Gum disease bacteria also destroys the tissues and supporting bone.
• Over-zealous tooth brushing: Scrubbing in a back-&-forth motion with a hard-bristle tooth brush can wear down enamel as well as gum tissues. Also, abrasive substances such as baking soda are too gritty for teeth and can wear down gum tissues as well as tooth enamel.
• Poor oral hygiene: Without thorough and regular brushing and flossing, oral bacteria accumulate. This forms a sticky film known as plaque, which hardens into calculus. Calculus is a cement-like substance that is a massive colony of oral bacteria. These bacteria thrive by feeding on gum tissues.
• Smoking: When saliva flow is insufficient to effectively rinse bacteria from the mouth, bacteria readily accumulate. The chemicals in tobacco are terribly drying to oral tissues, which creates an ideal environment for the formation of plaque, leading to calculus. As mentioned above, calculus is a build up of oral bacteria that destroys gum tissue and contributes to recession.
• Grinding & clenching teeth: When you clench or grind your teeth during sleep, the force placed on teeth can be so forceful that the teeth begin to tilt out of position. Eventually, the gums can pull away from teeth.
• Hormonal fluctuations: Pregnancy, menopause and puberty cause changes in hormone levels. These hormonal fluctuations can cause gums to feel tender and be more vulnerable to recession.
• Misaligned teeth: When not properly aligned, teeth endure added force to bite and chew. This can also place added strain to the TMJ (jaw joints), gums and the bone that supports tooth roots. This can lead to gum recession.

When dark areas of teeth are visible, it detracts from a smile and makes teeth more susceptible to decay or gum disease. For comfort, appearance and the health of your teeth, repairing the problem before damage occurs can save you greatly in time and expense.

Gum recontouring procedures can repair recession comfortably and quickly. However, it is important to repair recession before it becomes severe. Call 219-987-5733 to learn more or request a free consultation appointment. During this time, we can discuss treatment options and anticipated costs.