La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – If you’re an adult looking into orthodontic treatment, you hope the result will be a beautiful new smile that you want to show off to everyone. But some people may worry that getting braces may damage their smile by causing their gums to recede. Is there any truth to that assumption?
“There are some studies that show that there is a link, albeit very small, to braces and gum recession,” says Dr. Robert Gire, who serves orthodontic patients in the La Habra/Chino Hills areas. “In studies that do show a link between braces and gum recession, the amount of gum recession displayed is extremely minimal, compared to that of patients who have periodontal disease (gum disease). Orthodontic patients showed only about one-half millimeter of recession, whereas a patient with mild gum disease will have three millimeters of recession.”
Many factors contribute to recession in adults and in some adolescents and teenagers. Let’s review some of the main causes of gum recession:
- Aggressive brushing – Brushing your teeth too hard or with a hard bristled tooth brush can actually cause damage. You may be stripping away the enamel at the base of your tooth, which can then irritate the gum tissue causing it to become inflamed. Over time, it will begin to recede.
- Bruxism – Clenching or grinding your teeth cause the teeth to constantly be pressed up against the bones inside the mouth. Over time, the bone will begin to recede from the gums, causing the gums to recede.
- Tobacco use – Tobacco can be devastating for your mouth and chewing tobacco in particular can damage your gums if used continuously.
- Periodontal disease – Gum disease sets in when bacteria causes an infection in the gum and bone tissue, which over time can lead to gum recession and bone loss.
- Orthodontic treatment – While there is no overwhelming evidence that orthodontic treatment leads to gum disease, some believe that the process of moving teeth leads to gum recession due to the movement of teeth in a direction where the bone or gum tissue is thin to begin with.
“If you have any gum issues, it will make moving your teeth even more difficult during orthodontic treatment,” says Dr. Gire. “During your treatment it’s important that you not only pay extra attention to your oral health, but also maintain your regular checkups with your dentist to ensure your mouth stays as healthy as possible.”
If you are interested in orthodontic treatment, it is important to ensure that your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible before undergoing treatment. If you currently have gum issues, they may worsen during orthodontic treatment. If you are currently wearing braces and are concerned you may be experiencing gum recession, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to discuss what options are available for you.
“For patients who may worry about gum recession, Clear Aligner Therapy (such as Clear Correct, MTM, or Invisalign) may be a better option,” says Dr. Gire. “It moves teeth as efficiently as traditional braces, but the aligners can be removed, making caring for your teeth and gums as easy as possible.”
To learn about all of the options available to you, call Gire Orthodontics today at 562-690-1199 (La Habra) or 909-393-9911 (Chino Hills).