Teeth Grinding and Receding Gums

Bruxism is the clinical term for grinding your teeth while you sleep, a condition that can be as damaging to your smile as it is to your partner’s rest. Teeth grinding has a myriad of different causes, including genetics, abnormal stress levels, or sleep disorders. However, the result is the same—damaged teeth, oral lacerations, and neck and jaw fatigue that can cause pain and even dislocation or joint disorders. People who suffer from bruxism typically grind their teeth whenever they are sleeping deeply, which is one reason why tooth grinding isn’t typically diagnosed until people have suffered with it for awhile. Many aren’t aware of their teeth grinding at first; some people don’t even know that they grind their teeth until they wake up with a chipped or cracked tooth.  

Unfortunately, the damage caused by bruxism doesn’t stop with the teeth. Teeth grinding can also cause severe gum recession because of the pressure put on the gums by the motion. Tooth grinding can also make the teeth loose in their sockets, creating deep gingival pockets where bacteria can collect. These bacteria can cause the gums to pull back even farther from the teeth, exposing the delicate dental root.  

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there is a lot your Pittsburgh periodontist can do to help you with bruxism and subsequent gum recession. Here are some of the treatments periodontists in Pittsburgh might recommend:

Treatments for Bruxism

Treatment for bruxism typically includes wearing a customized mouthguard designed to keep your teeth apart as you sleep. There are a large variety of mouthguards available on today’s market, allowing our clinicians to cater your treatment specifically for your teeth, any allergies, and your personal preferences. Mouthguards can give your teeth and gums a chance to recover from previous bruxism damage, while preventing future problems.

Treatments for Gum Recession

  • Gum Grafting: Traditional gum grafting involves harvesting tissue from elsewhere in the mouth to graft into the recessed area of the gums. Traditional gum grafting is effective and time-tested.
  • The Pinhole Surgical Technique™: The Pinhole Surgical Technique™ can alleviate gum recession without the negative side effects of traditional surgery. During the Pinhole Surgical Technique™, a small incision about the size of a pinhole is made above the recessed area. Next, special tools are used to gently push the gum tissue downwards, and tiny collagen strips are used to hold the tissue in place. The treatment is effective immediately and requires a very simple recovery.


For more information about treating gum recession and bruxism, contact the Silberg Center for Dental Science.

Posted in Gum Disease

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