Gum recession and the art of worrying too much

J

Jkr91

Junior member
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
1
#1
Hello everybody

Let me preface this by saying that I have been diagnosed with severe OCD, which means I worry... A LOT! Overthinking and worrying way more than I need to is what I do best. And this might also tie in to my current problem, which is why I'm mentioning it.

So for the past 2 years or so, I've realised that I suffer quite a bit from gum recession. I gotta be honest, up untill two years ago I had no idea that you could brush your teeth in a wrong way much less that you could actively damage both your teeth and gums by doing so. So for the first 25 years of my life I brushed way too hard and probably used the wrong tooth brush a large part of the time. As a result, my gums are receding. Nowadays, I am extremely careful that I brush as gently as possible while also using a soft toothbrush. However, I can't help but feel that the problem is still getting worse. I am currently seeing a gum specialist (I assume such a person has a special name that I am not aware of), but for the past 2-3 months I have been worrying A LOT about my gums. If they just stay the way they are now, I can easily live with that - I just don't want it to get worse! However, at the same time I also feel like it actually IS getting worse, because I feel like more and more of my teeth are starting to hurt. It's gotten to the point where I am genuinely anxious to brush my teeth, because I feel like even the slighest touch of the gums is going to worsen the problem. Furthermore, I simply can't stop thinking and worrying about that my gums are continuing to recede and it's truly getting me down - probably way more than it should. Now here's my question: Is it possible that I, because I worry and overthink so much, feel the pain BECAUSE of that and not because it has actually gotten worse? Is it possible that the pain is all (or atleast mostly) in my head? Have any of you dentist worked with patients who felt this way before? Or do I just have to face the fact that it is actually getting worse by the day?

Thank you.
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
4,968
#2
Gum recession makes teeth sensitive by exposing parts of the root surface that have little connections to the tooth nerve in them. It's usually easy enough to manage by using a suitable desensitising toothpaste, or the dentist can use stronger materials.

If your teeth are sensitive and sore during brushing then generally you won't do as good a job with the brush, which leads to a bit more recession, more sensitivity and so on... so it's important to manage the problem and you're not being daft by worrying about it.

The best way to use the desensitising pastes is:
1) Last thing before going to bed, brush your teeth with whatever toothpaste you like the taste of best basically they're much the same thing with different flavouring added
2) Apply a smear of desensitising paste with your finger tip to the sensitive areas.
3) Do not rinse or brush or anything, just go to bed. While you sleep your saliva switches down a gear so the paste will sit undisturbed till the morning

If you like, you can brush your teeth during the day with the desensitising paste, but the last thing at night bit is the most effective. Several makes are available, I prefer the Colgate one but it doesn't matter. If this doesn't fix it, ask a dentist for help.

Your gum specialist person is called a periodontologist or periodontist in the US.
 
U

UKVilla

Junior member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
17
#3
Gum recession makes teeth sensitive by exposing parts of the root surface that have little connections to the tooth nerve in them. It's usually easy enough to manage by using a suitable desensitising toothpaste, or the dentist can use stronger materials.

If your teeth are sensitive and sore during brushing then generally you won't do as good a job with the brush, which leads to a bit more recession, more sensitivity and so on... so it's important to manage the problem and you're not being daft by worrying about it.

The best way to use the desensitising pastes is:
1) Last thing before going to bed, brush your teeth with whatever toothpaste you like the taste of best basically they're much the same thing with different flavouring added
2) Apply a smear of desensitising paste with your finger tip to the sensitive areas.
3) Do not rinse or brush or anything, just go to bed. While you sleep your saliva switches down a gear so the paste will sit undisturbed till the morning

If you like, you can brush your teeth during the day with the desensitising paste, but the last thing at night bit is the most effective. Several makes are available, I prefer the Colgate one but it doesn't matter. If this doesn't fix it, ask a dentist for help.

Your gum specialist person is called a periodontologist or periodontist in the US.
Good afternoon Gordon,

I just read your very helpful message, and wondered what you would advise for me? Do I need to go and see someone as I’m concerned I have gum recession, or do you think desensitising toothpaste and things will be sufficient?

I’m 32 and not sure what level of recession is ‘normal’ and what requires attention? I’ve read far too much about it, and am hoping someone could advise me.

Thanks,

Phil
 

Attachments

Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
4,968
#4
Your gum position looks pretty normal in that photo Phil. You look like you're a bit of a grinder though, it would be worth getting that looked at... not urgent but a wee night guard might not be a bad idea.