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BrandedPrincess 11-22-2010 03:12 PM

Opinions about My dentist appointment (gum recession)
So, I had a dentist appointment because I thought I had gum recession on one tooth) I did the whole cleaning/xrays..ect. He told me that everything was fine, my bones are fine and I need to keep an eye on a few back teeth that had fillings in it (I had it done in grade school and I am now in my 30's) because I could be possibly in the begining stages of getting cavities there. I am not concerned about those teeth at this time but I am concerned more for the one tooth with gum recession.

He told me that it could be due to age, or that I brush too hard. (which could be true because I use a medium tooth brush and now switched to soft.) He said there is nothing that can be done for it. Is this true? I read otherwise when I first did research about gum recession. Im okay if nothing can or should be done but I don't want it to progress as I age. He said I didn't have gum disease and I didn't even have signs of gingivitis, which I believe because I don't even bleed when I brush, plus, my gums are pink.

Well, my concerns are: He didn't measure pockets of my gums. Why? Is it because I didn't have any signs of gingivitis or gum disease? Or should he have checked pockets?

Shouldn't he have known for sure if I had any cavities that might be starting to form?

Should I go for another 2nd opinion because I am concerned about that one tooth?

He didn't even mention anything about flossing.

I am suppose to go back in 6 months. I am not sure if I should go back to him or not. I know good oral care helps prevent further gum recession (providing there is no disease or treatment needed so I am not too worried about waiting 6 months for another appointment if I do go to someone else or back to him.)

I don't know, I don't think it was that great of an appointment but I haven't been to the dentist since the begining of 06' so I can't really compare. He took tons of xrays though.

I am just hoping to get some opinions about my appointment. I think he should have known for sure if I was in the begining stages of forming cavities.

Thanks in advance!

BrandedPrincess 11-23-2010 11:50 AM

Re: Opinions about My dentist appointment (gum recession)
Ok, so I kinda figure I won't get any opinions on this board but I sent this question to a dentist that answers questions on the computer. I will update with a reply incase anyone finds themselves in a smiliar situation like me but it might take a few days to get a reply.

Gellia 11-23-2010 02:00 PM

Re: Opinions about My dentist appointment (gum recession)
Sorry you didn't get an answer sooner. It's very hard to give you a definitive one without actually seeing the tooth and gum in question, so I can only be general. Hope it helps, though.

Most gum recession comes from plaque gathering between the tooth surface and the gumline. It pushes down in between and forms a dental pocket. That is the start of gingivitis. If you have had your teeth cleaned, you brush twice a day (at least two minutes) and floss daily that shouldn't be a problem, as your dentist indicated. Brushing your teeth too hard can also cause gum recession as it literally tears the gum from the tooth surface and then the gum shrinks.

You cannot "regrow" gum tissue where it has been lost. You can have it replaced surgically, though. It requires you to have a small section of the membrane on the roof of your mouth (feels like a bad pizza burn!) transplanted to where the gum has recessed. This can work quite well if done by someone experienced, usually an oral surgeon, but it is surgery.

At this point, it sounds as though your dentist didn't feel that your pockets needed to be measured because you may not have any pockets forming. If you had a thorough cleaning he would be able to tell if they are forming without measurements taken. If you got a clean bill of health, you may be "pocket free".

You can help keep the gum recession you have from getting worse by brushing twice daily with a SOFT toothbrush and flossing once a day. Gentle movements in circles with your brush is best to get into small groves and crevices. A sonic toothbrush is good and so is a water pik.

Age does play a part in gum recession, too. Not much you can do about that.

Surgery is the only "fix".

As for the cavities. There may be soft spots on your enamel that look like the beginning of decay. Many times they don't need treatment but need to be watched so they don't become cavities. You really don't want treatment to an area if a cavity never forms, esp. on a tooth with a previous filling.

Your dentist sounds as though he is conservative in his treatments and goes by an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach.

A second opinion is always a good idea if you are unhappy with the first. If for no other reason but to be assured that you already got the correct information.

Hope this helps some.
Best to you,

BrandedPrincess 11-23-2010 07:20 PM

Re: Opinions about My dentist appointment (gum recession)
Thank you so much for the helpful reply! I am just concerned about the root being exposed. I am wondering if it has a higher chance of getting cavities and such. The root is sensitive so I have started to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth for the past month and it helped a lot. Do you think it's okay to leave the root exposed? It's not really bad but enough for me to notice the root.

Are you a dentist by the way? If you aren't, you really should become one! I really appreciated your advice. Oh, another question, do you think an electronic toothbrush is better to use? Would it be soft enough?

Thank you for your time!!

Gellia 11-24-2010 08:22 AM

Re: Opinions about My dentist appointment (gum recession)
Sonic toothbrushes are supposed to work very well. Adding a water pik to your oral hygiene is also a good idea, but the most important part is brushing and flossing.

I think what you are seeing is not so much the "root" of your tooth, but the dentine. Dentine is a more yellow color than the rest of the tooth and has tubules in it which can transport painful stimuli to the nerve. When you use the toothpaste for sensitive teeth, it helps plug the tubules and settles the nerve down. It can work very well as long as you keep using it.

I don't think I'd worry too much about the tooth. Gum recession is normal when we hit our 30's as bone just starts to dissolve at that time, but in a normal fashion. It's part of the aging process (sorry!!). The gum sort of just follows the bone along but it takes YEARS before any problems and then only if you don't care for your teeth (hence the term "long in the tooth"). You'd be surprised at just how long the root of a tooth is. I don't think you have anything to worry about as to loosing the tooth.

As long as you see your dentist for general cleanings and brush twice a day and use floss the gum recession shouldn't get any worse. Keeping the tooth clean should also prevent it from getting any gumline cavities from dentin exposure. Dentin is softer than the enamel. The important part is how much bone is around that tooth. The gum needs bone under it to keep from recessing.

Surgery is the only way to completely correct it. It works good, but is definitely an "owie" procedure and unless the gum recession really bothers you cosmetically is probably not necessary.

Hope this helps.
Best to you,

BrandedPrincess 11-26-2010 10:15 AM

Re: Opinions about My dentist appointment (gum recession)
Thank you Gellia! You were very helpful to me!! I really appreciated it! :)

Gellia 11-26-2010 12:55 PM

Re: Opinions about My dentist appointment (gum recession)
My pleasure! I hope it helps some.


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