Are you experiencing gum recession and wearing braces at the same time? You may be wondering why your gums are receding and whether your braces are contributing to the problem. Gum recession is a gradual process that exposes the roots of the teeth, making them more sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet foods. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of gum recession, discuss how braces can contribute to this condition, and provide preventative measures and possible treatments.
What is the Gum Recession?
Gum recession, or receding gums, is the process in which your gums move away from the teeth, leaving the root of the tooth exposed. This can lead to sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods and other serious dental issues, such as root caries and tooth loss. Receding gums is usually a sign of periodontal disease, an infection of the gums and bones supporting the teeth.
Receding gums occurs gradually over time but may be accelerated by poor oral hygiene, brushing too hard, using a hard-bristled toothbrush, or wearing braces.
Certain factors can make you more likely to suffer from receding gums, such as:
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Teeth crowding
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Orthodontic treatment, such as braces
- Hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy or menopause
Can Braces Cause Receding Gums?
Yes, braces can contribute to receding gums in a few ways. Firstly, the wires and brackets of braces apply pressure on teeth to move them into a desired position, which can cause the bone supporting the teeth to remodel. However, this pressure can affect the gum tissue, causing them to recede.
Secondly, braces can make it difficult for you to properly brush and floss your teeth, leading to an accumulation of plaque on the teeth and gums that can contribute to periodontal (gum) disease.
Braces Can Prevent Receding Gums
While braces can contribute to receding gums, they also help prevent it. Braces can help treat misaligned teeth and reduce crowding, making it easier for you to properly brush and floss your teeth. This, in turn, helps keep the gums healthy by reducing plaque accumulation.
Braces can also reduce teeth grinding by ensuring your teeth fit properly together. This can reduce the force on your teeth and gums, helping to prevent receding gums.
How Do I Know If I Have Receding Gums While Wearing Braces?
The most common symptom of receding gums is sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods. You may also notice a change in the color of your teeth as the root becomes exposed, making them appear longer than usual. Also, you may notice:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Receding gum line
- Increased spaces between teeth
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms while wearing braces, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
Can Receding Gums Grow Back?
Unfortunately, once the gum tissue has receded, it cannot be reversed. The treatment aims to stop the progression and prevent further damage.
Surgical treatments, such as gum graft surgery, can be used to replace the lost gum tissue to reduce sensitivity and improve aesthetics.
Your orthodontist will be able to assess the severity of your condition and develop a treatment plan to help improve your gum health. Treatment typically involves:
- Proper oral hygiene: Brushing and flossing twice daily and using an antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce plaque buildup on your teeth and gums. It is also important to adjust your brushing and flossing technique, if necessary, to better fit around the braces.
- Scaling and root planing: It is a deep cleaning procedure to remove plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth and gums and smooth out any rough spots on the root surfaces.
- Adjustment of the braces: Your orthodontist may need to make adjustments to the wires or brackets of your braces to reduce the amount of pressure placed on your gums.
- Medication: Your orthodontist may recommend that you take antibiotics or other medications to help reduce inflammation and infection in the gums.
- Periodontal surgery: In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the receding gums and prevent further damage, such as gum grafts. Gum grafts involve taking a small piece of tissue from the roof of your mouth (or other areas) and placing it over the receded area to cover the exposed root.
Tips for Preventing Receding Gums While Wearing Braces
To prevent receding gums while wearing braces, maintain good oral hygiene and practice the following tips:
- Maintain good oral hygiene practices: Brush and floss twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush, dental floss, and an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Adjust your brushing and flossing technique: Make sure you are using a gentle yet thorough motion when cleaning around your braces to avoid irritating the gums.
- Schedule regular appointments with your orthodontist: Your orthodontist should adjust the wires and brackets of your braces as needed to relieve any pressure on the gums.
- Consider using an interdental brush: This small, cone-shaped brush is designed to get into the tight spaces between your teeth and braces to clean out debris or plaque buildup.
- Quit smoking: Smoking can lead to dry mouth, which increases the risk of receding gums.
By following these tips, you can help maintain healthy gums and reduce your risk of developing receding gums while wearing braces.
Receding Gums Braces – Conclusion
While braces can help improve the appearance of your teeth and bite, they can potentially contribute to receding gums. Wires and brackets of braces apply pressure on teeth to move them into a desired position, and this pressure can cause the gum tissue to recede.
Additionally, braces make it difficult for you to properly brush and floss your teeth, causing plaque to accumulate on the teeth and leading to periodontal disease.
Contact your orthodontist if you notice your teeth are longer than normal or if your gums are red and swollen. They can perform an examination to determine the cause of the issue and provide you with treatment options.
The treatment of receding gums depends on the severity of the condition, which may include scaling and root planning, antibiotics, or gum grafting surgery in severe cases.
The best way to reduce the risk of receding gums while wearing braces is to practice good oral hygiene, adjust your brushing and flossing techniques, and visit your orthodontist for regular adjustments.