For over 25 years, Dr. Joseph R. Nemeth DDS & Associates has been helping people from the metro Detroit area and around the world achieve the best possible dental health. The practice specializes in treating gum disease, placing dental implants and performing cosmetic services. Dr. Nemeth has also treated countless patients who have had gum complications related to their braces or orthodontics.
What most people don’t know is that two common side effects of braces are gum recession and gum swelling. “Parents who have children in braces or – who are contemplating braces for themselves – should be aware of possible gum recession or gum hyperplasia and how to treat it,” says Dr. Joseph R. Nemeth, D.D.S.
Orthodontists are aware that this problem can occur and often refer patients to periodontists like Dr. Nemeth, who specialize in the treatment of gum recession and hyperplasia, which is excessive gum tissue.
“Parents spend significant amounts of money on braces for their children and they need to know about the potential complications that can occur,” Dr. Nemeth says.
On the one hand, braces can cause the gum tissue to get thinner and lead to gum recession. It’s important for parents to know that untreated gum recession can lead to bone loss and eventually even tooth loss. On the other hand, braces can also lead to hyperplasia, which is an aesthetically unappealing gummy smile.
“Recession progresses over the years. It starts as a small area and typically gets worse and worse. As the roots become more exposed, hot and cold sensitivity usually becomes more severe,” Dr. Nemeth says. “If gum recession is allowed to go on too long, the risk of bone loss and tooth loss increases.”
“When you start to feel the effects, the recession is usually in an advanced state. The teeth will look longer as the root becomes more exposed. The root also tends to look yellow – like the roots of a tree being uncovered,” Dr. Nemeth explains.
The opposite of gum recession, also known as hyperplasia, can make it difficult for patients to clean their teeth thoroughly. They find that there isn’t enough space between the teeth and the gums, even for dental floss, Dr. Nemeth says.
To prevent the gum recession or hyperplasia, Dr. Nemeth suggests that patients be certain to follow all of the orthodontist’s instructions for care and cleanliness.
“Patients need to make sure their home care is adequate,” Dr. Nemeth says. “Even with braces and wires, you still need to clean between the teeth.”
Dental floss can be tricky with braces, but there are alternatives. Dr. Nemeth suggests using interproximal brushes and picks, such as Soft Picks, which can stimulate the gum tissue and clean between the teeth. He also recommends water flossers.
Any orthodontic patients experiencing swelling or pain in the gums should consult their orthodontist and make sure they are keeping up with proper oral care.
Dr. Nemeth can correct the gum recession and hyperplasia through specialty procedures done in the office.
To correct gum recession, Dr. Nemeth uses the Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Technique™ to loosen the gum tissue and move it over the area where the gum has receded. The procedure is minimally-invasive, whereas previous procedures included using tissue from other areas of the mouth to patch receding areas.
For patients with hyperplasia, Dr. Nemeth uses a procedure called crown lengthening to reshape the gums around the teeth in order to extend the length of the tooth. The result is a beautiful smile with teeth that look more proportional to the surrounding gums.
These procedures create healthier, stronger and more natural-looking teeth and gums.
If you suffer from gum recession or hyperplasia, feel free to call Dr. Nemeth for an exam.
For more information on Dr. Joseph Nemeth & Associates, which is located in Southfield, call 248-357-3100 or visit drnemeth.com.