Cavities typically make up the primary concern for parents monitoring their child’s dental health. However, one ailment most commonly associated with adults over the age of 40 that may also rear its head beginning at around the age of 10, is gingival recession. And it’s not as far fetched as you may think, as within Greater Vancouver BC alone search engine data notes that up to one-hundred people per month are online and searching for information about receding gums in adolescents. While some parents take a “wait and see” stance when it comes to their child’s appearance of receding gums, the increased sensitivity to foods/beverages and correlated risk of subsequent tooth decay and premature tooth loss is a clear call to action to investigate further.
If you’ve noticed that your preteen or teen appears to have abnormally exposed gums at one or more point along their dental cavity please keep reading.
5 Things Parents Need to Consider About Treatment When Their Child May Have Receding Gums
1. Did You Pass on the Gene?
Parents of a child with the appearance of gingival recession are often baffled. This is because they have been staunch in their child’s dental upkeep. If this sounds like you, it is likely not poor (or overly-aggressive) oral hygiene that has left your kid with exposed gums. Instead, it may be a predisposed genetic condition. In this article on the other causes of receding gums, inherited factors are named as a primary culprit. If this is the case, simply take a good look in the mirror. If you’re in good oral standing and yet your gums appear larger than “normal” you may simply have passed this trait on to your child, at which point there may be no cause for concern. That being said, hereditary causes may also make you, and thus your child, more susceptible to periodontitis, which can directly result in gum recession.
2. Is Your Child Grinding His/Her Teeth?
In an important study on gum recession in children, it was found that the primary subject had a habit of grinding (bruxism) his maxillary incisors teeth against the mandibular incisors. The findings were consistent with the fact that when gum recession is evident in children, it is indeed more prevalent in the mandibular incisor region. If your child has a habit of grinding his/her teeth, prevention of further gum recession can be found with bruxism treatment (including wearing a mouthguard at night) while mother nature may return his/her gums to normal, all else equal.
3. Orthodontics May Be the Answer
Another primary cause of the appearance of gum recession in children, is an irregularly located tooth, or teeth. For instance, when a child has a severe overbite that allows the lower front teeth to contact the gum line in the back of the upper front teeth, while the upper front teeth hit the gum line of the lower front teeth, gum recession can ensue. In this case, orthodontics may provide the solution. However, it should be noted that wearing poorly fitted braces can also contribute to gum recession, so be diligent and seek out a renowned orthodontist in your area.
4. A Minimally Invasive Solution
The primary reason parents may not want to come to terms with the fact that their child may have receding gums, is the traditional treatment – gum grafting. Gum grafting is a surgical (and thus invasive) technique that has been historically used to treat receding gums. In the process, a thin piece of tissue is surgical removed from the roof of the patient’s mouth, which is enough to send a child (and parent) running for the hills. But that was then.
Today, specialized clinics offer a non-invasive and safe solution that comes with limited to little pain and recovery time. This groundbreaking procedure is known as the pinhole surgical technique, and is indeed a preferred method for any child that has actual (versus perceived) gum recession. Learn more about the pinhole surgical technique as a better alternative to gum grafting, but also take note that only a true specialist can make the call as to whether or not your child requires gum recession treatment. Keep reading.
5. Avoid Parental Diagnosis
We’d be remiss to not include with the most important here. While we’re happy that you went online and found this article, further web research may send you into a frenzy as you try to self-diagnose (on your child’s behalf) the existence of gum recession. Only a dental specialist can make that call and prescribe the best course of corrective action against gingival recession or other ailment that may make it seem as if receding gums are what your child is experiencing.
A specialist will consider many things. They will assess how much gum tissue has been lost (and remains), how much of the root is exposed, the position of the tooth relative to the bone and the adjacent teeth, the age of your child, and whether or not orthodontics should be planned for them. When it comes to kids, there is no cookie-cutter answer, so a consultation is essential.
As soon as you notice the appearance of receding gums contact a dental specialist near you. If you’re located in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Dental Specialty Clinic will provide a comprehensive yet comfortable (even fun!) dental examination on your child and make sure they are set on a path to optimal dental health. Contact VDSC today.