Table of Contents
Exposed necks of teeth can be painful
About a quarter of all adults are affected by exposed necks of teeth. Painful teeth are a typical consequence.
Exposed necks of teeth – how does it happen?
When the protective gums retract, the necks of the teeth can become exposed as a result. This can be a normal, age-related process. Often, gum recession is due to improper brushing technique. Gum recession and exposed tooth necks can also occur as part of periodontitis.
What happens when the neck of the tooth is exposed?
The gums normally form a kind of protective layer for the sensitive dentin (tooth bone) at the neck of the tooth. If the gums recede, the dentin is exposed without protection. And we can feel this clearly. This is because the dentin is crisscrossed by fine canals that react very sensitively to external stimuli. In concrete terms, this means that exposed tooth necks are usually accompanied by pain-sensitive teeth. Hot, cold or sweet things can therefore result in the unpleasant “ouch effect”.
In addition, many people find free tooth necks aesthetically disturbing, as the affected teeth appear unnaturally long.
Important: The earlier gum recession and the first signs of exposed necks of teeth are detected, the better. Because then it is still possible to counteract further progression. Once the gums are gone, they can only be replaced by special surgical procedures.
Exposed necks of teeth: symptoms
Exposed necks of teeth are first of all an aesthetic problem. The teeth appear unnaturally long. But unfortunately, this is not the only consequence.
In a healthy state: The gums protect the neck of the tooth.
The pale pink, healthy gums normally tightly surround the tooth. It protects both the sensitive neck of the tooth and the tooth root from bacteria, mechanical stress and other influences such as heat or irritating substances. If the gums retract, the sensitive neck of the tooth is exposed. And this can be seen and felt.
Exposed tooth necks: Consequences. When the tooth necks are exposed, the affected tooth appears unnaturally long. Many sufferers find this aesthetically disturbing.
But that is not all. The increased sensitivity of the teeth to pain can be particularly distressing. This is because the dentinal tubules, which react extremely sensitively to external stimuli, run in the region of the tooth necks. As a result, eating cold, hot or sweet foods can make you wince with pain. So there can be no talk of pleasure here!
Important to know: The risk of tooth neck or root caries also increases. It is therefore all the more important to consult a dentist early on for appropriate treatment if you have pain-sensitive teeth or suspect exposed tooth necks.
Exposed necks of teeth: Causes
Exposed necks of teeth occur when the gums in the corresponding areas recede (gum recession). This in turn can be due to various factors. Risk factors for gum recessionHere is an overview of some of the most important risk factors for gum recession:
- Advanced age
- Incorrect brushing with too much pressure (scrubbing the gums); use of a toothbrush with too hard bristles.
- Bacterial inflammation of the periodontium (periodontitis)
- Misalignment of teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Piercings in the area of the teeth
Good to know: Some people have “by nature” very thin gums, which are particularly quickly affected, for example, by an incorrect tooth brushing technique.
Exposed necks of teeth – what helps?
If you have exposed necks of teeth, you need to take action! This is not only important to get the accompanying pain sensitivity under control, which many sufferers complain about. The risk of tooth neck and root caries also increases when the tooth necks are exposed.
But what can be done about exposed tooth necks?
Various options are available for the treatment of exposed tooth necks, which can also be used in combination. The objective is different. The main objective is to reduce the pain sensitivity of the teeth.
However, it is also particularly important to identify and, if possible, eliminate the factors that have led to gum recession and thus to exposed tooth necks. In particular, toothbrushing habits should be scrutinized and corrected if necessary. For example, excessive pressure and a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard can cause damage to the gums and thus promote receding gums.
If there is an underlying disease such as periodontitis as the cause of exposed necks of teeth, this must be specifically treated. Last but not least, there are surgical procedures in which long tooth necks are covered.
Treatment of exposed tooth necks at a glance
We have compiled an overview of the treatment options for you here.
Reducing the hypersensitivity of the teeth:
- Use of a toothpaste for pain-sensitive teeth with desensitizing agents such as potassium nitrate.
- Sealing tooth necks: The dentist applies a varnish to the sensitive areas (e.g., fluoride varnish or dentin primer, which is a liquid plastic that seals the dentinal tubules)
Stop further gum recession Improve tooth brushing habits with focus on:
- Brushing teeth without too much pressure
- Avoiding horizontal scrubbing, instead using wiping motions from red to white
- Using a soft bristle toothbrush for sensitive teeth or gums
In the case of periodontitis as the cause of receding gums and exposed necks of teeth: Targeted treatment .
Remove causative, bacterial plaque:
- Improve oral hygiene (correct tooth brushing technique, cleaning of interdental spaces, use of an antibacterial mouth rinse).
- Removal of bacterial plaque at the dentist’s office
- If necessary, minor surgical measures
Covering exposed tooth necks (especially for very long tooth necks) Gum correction:
- Existing gums are incised and, so to speak, “pulled over the tooth”
- Transplantation of a strip of mucosa from the palate to the desired location
Further measures for exposed tooth necks
Further measures may be necessary in individual cases of exposed necks of teeth. For example, if malpositioned teeth are the cause, orthodontic correction may be helpful. Piercings in the oral cavity that are close to the teeth can also promote the development of exposed necks of teeth – removal is advisable in this case. Ask your dentist for advice on this.
Is there a remedy for exposed necks of teeth?
There is no single remedy for exposed necks of teeth. Therefore, there is no specific agent available that could stop the recession of the gums or restore gums that have already receded. Home remedies for exposed necks of teeth are not recommended.
The most important basic measure is and remains thorough but gentle oral hygiene. Additional treatment may be important if periodontal disease is the cause of exposed necks of teeth.
Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups to detect possible changes in the gums at an early stage and to be able to intervene in time.
Tips against receding gums to protect against exposed necks of teeth.
We have compiled the best tips against exposed tooth necks for you here.
Protecting the gums Exposed necks of teeth occur when the gums in these areas recede. So if you want to protect yourself, you should eliminate all factors that can cause gum recession. In particular, incorrect tooth brushing habits should be mentioned here. Since periodontitis can also lead to receding gums, it is important that such an underlying disease is detected early and treated specifically. You should therefore attend regular check-ups with your dentist.
Brushing teeth: Gentle and thorough Gum recession is often the result of incorrect tooth brushing. Particularly if too much pressure is applied, the gums can be literally scrubbed away. Horizontal toothbrushing movements can also promote this. Experts refer to this as a “traumatizing toothbrushing technique”. Therefore, if you want to prevent this, it is better to brush your teeth gently and with a toothbrush with soft bristles. Ideally, the KAI method should be used. Also make sure that you do not scrub horizontally, but wipe from the gums (red) towards the teeth (white).
Also important: Since damaged bristles can also irritate the gums, it is important to replace the toothbrush every two months at the latest.
In case of doubt to the dentist
If you have gum problems, such as bleeding gums, or suspect that your gums are receding, a visit to the dentist is recommended. He or she can make an accurate diagnosis and initiate the necessary treatment steps. Extra tip: Regularly performed professional teeth cleaning can protect against gum problems.
Protecting the gums Exposed necks of teeth occur when the gums in these areas recede. So if you want to protect yourself, you should eliminate all factors that can cause gum recession. In particular, incorrect tooth brushing habits should be mentioned here. Since periodontitis can also lead to receding gums, it is important that such an underlying disease is detected early and treated specifically.
You should therefore attend regular check-ups with your dentist.