What are some reasons you can think of that people go to the dentist? You're probably listing things like cleanings, cavities, root canals, and dentures. But another important problem that has to be corrected is an exposed tooth root.
Parts of Your Teeth Reviewed
Oral hygiene includes brushing your enamel, flossing your gums, and cleaning the bacteria out of your mouth. It also means paying attention to your teeth and gum line to make sure your roots are in shape.
Your roots hold the tooth in place, attached to the jaw so they don't move while you chew, talk, and swallow. But some factors can cause the gums to recede or the tooth to loosen, and suddenly an exposed root is a problem you can't ignore.
How do you prevent an exposed tooth root from happening to you, and what should you do if it does? Our experts at Cedar Grove Dental have put together this guide to answer your concerns.
When Tooth Roots Are Visible
Good oral hygiene involves taking care of the parts you can see, like your teeth, gum tissue, and lips. It also includes getting beneath the surface and making sure everything you can't see is healthy, too.
Your mouth includes a network of nerves, dentin, and roots. Together, they form the part of your body that helps you eat and talk. Since the teeth and gums keep you from having an exposed tooth root, it doesn't become an issue until you have something like severe gum recession going on.
At that point, visible tooth roots left untreated turn into serious health problems.
Gingivitis and Exposed Gum Roots
In our office, one of the top reasons patients come in with exposed tooth roots is because of untreated gum disease. What starts out as a mild condition called gingivitis turns serious.
A lot of people don't realize they have this condition at first. It can come with symptoms like bleeding along the natural gum line and sensitivity in the teeth, not always things you need a dentist for right away.
If you catch it with the early signs, gingivitis can be reversed with the right brushing techniques and some home treatments. Gum-restoring toothpaste and daily flossing, as well as regular professional dental cleanings, might eliminate the problem completely.
Sensitive gums can be from aggressive brushing. However, when you have blood every time you brush, or you notice receding gums, you could have other dental problems that require a dentist to help.
More Severe Causes of Exposed Tooth Roots
Gingivitis that becomes infected and progresses causes serious side effects.
When your "irritated gums" morph into sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures and gum recession, you may have periodontal disease. Stages of the gum disease include symptoms like:
- Inability to eat your favorite candies because of pain
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold beverages or certain foods with acids
- Sensitivity that continues after the food or drink is removed
- Gums that bleed or swell
- Gum line or nerve infection, accompanied by severe pain and inflammation
- Tooth discoloration due to decay or dying roots
- An exposed root
- Receding gums resulting in a longer looking tooth
These signs are warnings of progressing periodontal disease. From there, professional dental treatment is required to prevent bone loss and decline into serious health conditions.
Medical Reasons for Gum Disease and Exposed Tooth Roots
Tooth sensitivity, discomfort or pain, and other symptoms are also commonly caused by medical conditions. If you are a tooth grinder when you're stressed or sleeping, you have a condition called bruxism. It can weaken your enamel and cause you to experience severe pain.
Tooth grinding symptoms can be helped with a mouth guard, but you need to see a dental professional to fix the reason behind the problem.
Less Common Reasons for an Exposed Tooth Root
Severe pain is also caused by trauma to the face. Depending on where the impact occurred, it could have been the reason for root exposure and may loosen a tooth. The exposed part of the nerve causes air to reach the root, resulting in discomfort and sensitivity.
Misaligned teeth are another reason a gum line recedes. It sounds like a cosmetic issue, but when your teeth aren't lined up, in contact with each other, it's harder to keep the tooth enamel and gum tissue clean. The gaps and spaces collect bacteria and plaque, making it even more important to get dental checkups. The dental professional has tools that clean the buildup out of the areas you miss.
Otherwise, the plaque and bacteria can cause a tooth to quickly decay. This may turn into a cavity, too. It's a small hole that may be covered with dentin sealers. But without help, it becomes exposed roots and tooth loss.
Tobacco use causes exposed tooth roots, too. Smoking damages your teeth, eventually leading to gum disease, decay, and rot. The gums recede, leaving you with teeth roots exposed.
Treatment for an Exposed Tooth Root
Is your gum receding because of gingivitis, or do you have an exposed tooth root causing you pain? The treatment for your problem depends on the severity of the issue and other factors.
Proper brushing, regular dental checkups, and flossing can reverse gingivitis. Your dentist can prescribe antibiotics if the infection is causing swelling.
Further treatment options are based on symptoms, but can include:
- A gum graft to replace soft tissue along the tooth root
- Dental implants for missing teeth, along with bone grafts if there isn't enough jaw bone for an implant to hold
- Root planing, when the tooth root is exposed to remove anything causing infection at the source
In severe cases, periodontal disease may require surgical intervention. This minor invasive procedure is when the dentist opens the gum around an infected tooth. When the roots are exposed, the dentin and nerve pulp are cleaned.
Once that's finished, the gum is sealed. As it heals, the connective tissue attaches to the healthy gum, closing the exposed tooth root and making the enamel more stable.
Keeping Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
Treating gum issues early means they won't lead to severe health conditions. From regular cleaning with the right brush to tooth root planing, there are lots of treatments that help you with your oral health.
If you notice that your gums are inflamed or your teeth are sensitive to cold, don't wait to treat the problem. Call Cedar Grove Dental for an appointment. Our dentist and staff will help you figure out if you need a mouth guard for teeth grinding, or how to take care of the gum disease that's causing your exposed tooth roots.
We're Here to Treat You with Regular Checkups
Preventative care is the best way to avoid the need to treat your dental care with more invasive techniques. Professional cleanings, exams, and x-rays let us monitor your oral health. Together, we'll be able to avoid tooth decay and receding gums, fix your misaligned teeth, and seal cavities.
Whether you need a cleaning or to get rid of an exposed tooth root, we've got your dentistry needs covered at Cedar Grove Dental.