Exposed tooth roots

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, September 16, 2018

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TO properly discuss the issue with tooth sensitivity and tooth roots, it's important to go over the basic anatomy of your smile.

The exposed portion of your teeth above the gumline is known as the crown. Below the gumline is where the root of a tooth is located. This leads down into the jawbone and is secured by the gum tissue in order to remain in place in a sturdy fashion.

When the root structure of a tooth is exposed, this can lead to serious problems with tooth sensitivity. In many cases, the root exposure is the result of gum recession.

What is gum recession?

Gum recession refers to the loss of gum tissue around the teeth, resulting in more of the root structure of the teeth being exposed. This can occur for various reasons.

Since the root structure of the teeth is not intended to be exposed, it can result in your teeth being extrasensitive to hot and cold temperatures. This is often most notable when eating or drinking beverages with hot and cold temperatures.

Common causes of exposed tooth roots and gum recession include:

• Injuries to the mouth and gums: When you suffer a serious blow of trauma to the mouth or face, this can potentially cause loss of gum tissue and expose of the tooth roots.

• Advanced gum disease: In later stages of gum disease (a bacterial infection of the gums), it's possible for the gum tissue to peel back and reveal more of the tooth roots.

• Smoking and tobacco products: Smoking and smokeless tobacco are linked to gum disease and gum recession, along with many other dental health and general wellness issues.

• Teeth grinding (bruxism): When you grind your teeth, the stress on your teeth can result in gum recession over time;

• Oral piercings: Oral piercings can potentially cause gum recession as they rub against the gum tissue.

Treatment options to consider

When it comes to addressing exposed tooth roots, the best option for treatment generally involves gum grafting surgery. Gum grafting is a procedure in which donor gum tissue or artificial gum grafts are used to rebuild missing portions of the gumline.

This oral surgery will help address tooth sensitivity, protect teeth from further damage and decay, and improve the overall aesthetics of your smile in the process.

Preventing exposure of tooth roots

The best way to prevent exposure of the tooth roots is to brush and floss regularly. This helps prevent gum disease.

In addition, it's important to wear proper mouth protection when playing sports and to avoid smoking and tobacco products. To help monitor and address gum recession as soon as possible, be sure to visit the dentist twice a year for regular checkups.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa for an opportunity to take advantage of weekly specials.

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