Much like the expression ‘Long in the Tooth’, many people do not know the origin of their gum line recession, and the cavities that follow it. Upon seeing elongated teeth, the first thought may not be the danger of gum line cavities, but they are the most common risk when the stem of a tooth is exposed. Because these cavities are relatively unknown, and not recognized early, the dental procedure is usually reactive. However, the best treatment for this defect is only possible if identified early.
In the old days, when teeth had cavities in areas where the gum line had receded, dentists drilled out the decay and protected the cavitated areas with fillings. This practice is still adopted by many dentists, despite a pronounced deficit: The fillings deteriorate, and have to be replaced frequently. This perpetual drilling and filling over time will cause the nerve to cease functioning. While many advances have been made in general dentistry, permanent fillings by the gumline is still not the best solution.
It’s widely agreed by gum specialists that the problem cannot be solved with fillings because that does not deal with the underlying issue. Tooth decay by the gum line occurs because of gum recession. Instead of using a filling material in the cavitated areas near the receding gum, it is better to restore the gum to its original height in order to cover the defect. Gum recession can have a number of causes.
The most common are:
- Teeth grinding
- Jaw demineralization
- Gum tissue trauma
- Genetic traits
As gums are so closely linked to the jaw, any time that the jaw recedes, so do the gums. Not only do the gums diminish, but the teeth also weaken, leaving a greater vulnerability to cavities. Filling in these cavities does not heal the gums or lessen their recession. Luckily, at Aurora Dental Care we are familiar with gum line problems and how to restore a healthy mouth.
The first step to restoring your gums and avoiding drilling and filling is to deal with your jaw problems. As your gums are simply tissue they rely on the bone beneath them to stay healthy. The easiest way to remedy gum recession is by identifying it early and having simple treatments like MI toothpastes and calcium enriched diet.
If the jaw has begun to demineralize and the cavities have already emerged, greater measures must be take. The cavity will have to be removed, but remineralization of the jaw is still possible. Procedures vary, but are a more permanent solution if successful.
At Aurora Dental Care, our patients who have had recession, and as a result tooth decay, have been spared the drills and enjoyed healthier gums and smiles.
Before: Notice the receding gum and cavity-affected areas.
After: The newly restored gum covers and protects the affected areas.
Tuanh P. Smith, DDS