What is Gingival Recession (Periodontitis)? How is it treated?
Periodontitis, also called gum recession or gum disease, is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue around the teeth and, if left untreated, removes the bone that supports the teeth. Periodontitis can lead to loose teeth or tooth loss.
Gum recession is becoming a common, but largely preventable condition. It is generally caused by poor oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, daily flossing and regular dental check-ups can reduce both gum recession and its development. This can greatly increase the likelihood of favorable treatment.
Gingival recession is a common gum disease. It can be seen in all age groups. Many individuals may not be aware of this condition because gum recession occurs slowly. Gum recession can occur due to different reasons. Since the treatment of this problem depends on the underlying factors, if you are worried about gum recession, you should consult a dentist without wasting time.
What Causes Gingival Recession (Periodontitis)?
In many cases, gum recession is caused by plaque formation, a sticky film formed by bacteria. If left untreated, this plaque can eventually develop into periodontitis.
When the starches and sugars in food interact with the bacteria that are normally in the mouth, plaque begins to form on the teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can prevent plaque buildup, but plaque builds back up quickly.
Plaque left on the teeth hardens below the gum line and can become tartar, dental calculus. Tartar is much harder to remove than plaque. The longer plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, the more problems can occur. It is not possible to remove tartar by brushing and flossing. A specialized dental cleaning is needed to remove it. Plaque can therefore lead to gingivitis, a gum disease.
What are the Symptoms of Receding Gums (Periodontitis)
The first symptom of gum recession is generally the sensitivity of the teeth. Apart from this, symptoms of gum recession can be listed as follows;
- Bleeding in the gums that occurs during brushing or at regular times
- Bleeding when consuming hard foods
- The tooth appears longer than usual
- Redness or swelling of the gums
- Lossing teeth or losing teeth
- Spaces between teeth and gums
How to Diagnose Receding Gums (Periodontitis)
The dentist will first check to see if the person has receding gums and, if so, the level of intensity. During this check-up phase, the dentist will review the person's medical history to identify factors that may be contributing to the symptoms, such as smoking or taking certain medications that cause dry mouth.
The inside of the mouth is checked to detect plaque and tartar formation. The dentist measures the pocket depth of the groove between the gums and teeth in different parts of the mouth by placing a tooth probe next to the tooth. In a healthy mouth, the pocket depth is usually between 1-3 mm. Pockets deeper than 4mm may indicate the presence of periodontitis. Pockets deeper than 5mm cannot be cleaned well and may require intervention.
Where a deep pocket depth is observed, a dental x-ray is required to analyze the lost bone. After these steps, the dentist can assign a procedure for gum extraction depending on the severity of the condition, the complexity of the treatment, the existing danger factors and the health of the person.
Treatment of Receding Gums (Periodontitis)
The treatment of gum recession can be performed by a dental specialist. The aim of the treatment is to clean the pockets around the teeth well and to prevent further damage to the surrounding bone. For a beneficial treatment, this should be accompanied by good daily oral care, management of health facilities that affect dental health and an end to smoking.
However, if gum recession has not developed, the treatment process can end with non-surgical treatments. Tartar and bacteria should be scraped off the surface of the teeth with laser, ultrasonic devices, etc.
Topical antibiotics may include antibiotic mouthwashes or gels containing antibiotics that are inserted into the space between the teeth and gums or into pockets after thorough cleaning, and oral antibiotics may be needed to completely destroy the bacteria causing the infection.
However, if the person has advanced gingival recession, dental surgery can be performed in the treatment phase. Thus, pocket reduction surgery can be performed. The dentist makes small incisions in the gums.
When a person loses gum tissue, the gums recede. Some of the damaged soft structures need to be strengthened. For this, soft tissue grafts can be performed.
Bone grafting is performed when gum recession has worn away the bone surrounding the tooth root. The grafted pieces are made up of small pieces of the person's own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone. Another method is the application of a special gel to the root of a diseased tooth.