Q: I have gum recession in multiple teeth. I wonder how it got so bad and if it is treatable?

A: Almost 70 per cent of the population have varying degrees of gum recession. So you are not alone. Gum recession can cause sensitivity, bone loss around the teeth and eventual loss of the tooth so it should not be taken lightly. Surprisingly most recession seems to be caused due to dental overzealousness rather than dental neglect. Aggressive and incorrect brushing techniques, bruxism or night-grinding are some common causes.

Remember, harder toothbrushes are not always better. Softer brushes used in the proper technique – the direction should always be from the gum to the tooth and never the other way around. Brushing in circles, as commonly thought, is not the right way. When you brush your teeth in a circular direction – you might be going correct in one direction but when you come back against the gum, you are actually pushing the gum away from the tooth. If bruxism or night grinding is the cause of the recession – you might need to treat that as well. This might need a clinical consultation.

Have a professional dental cleaning or scaling done as regularly as required. People who have meticulous oral hygiene may need only annual cleanings and there are others who might need it much more frequently – possibly four times a year. Bleeding gums are usually a sign that a visit is due.

The treatment of gum recession is usually done as a minor surgical procedure where tissue is placed in the areas of the receded gums and allowed to heal. This is called grafting. Various options for the grafts are available depending on the patient and doctor’s preference and the clinical situation. Recently a more non-invasive procedure called the pinhole technique has become popular. Success rates are excellent provided a strict after-care protocol is followed.

Most importantly please remember that the treatment of all causes of gum recession is only as good as the after care that follows.

Dr Tanveer Ahmed is medical director at New Ivory Dental & Implant Clinic. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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