Dental Health Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Can toothbrush damage to gums be reversed

A few years ago, a dentist I was seeing told me that I was brushing improperly in a sawlike motion and had caused slight damage to the gum surrounding one tooth.  He immediately wanted to bond my tooth, despite very slight recession.  I refused, but did take his suggestion and began brushing in a circular motion with a soft toothbrush, and it felt awkward, and my gums kept feeling irriated.  He then told me to start using a Braun electric toothbrush, but the gum irritation continued despite this.  I recently switched dentists and was told during a recent cleaning that I now have extensive toothbrush abrasion on much of the gum in my mouth, although I am not quite at the point where gum grafting should be done.  My teeth are in decent shape.  I am 28, have all of my natural teeth, but the gums holding them in place are irritated and receding from the way I am brushing.  Is it safe to brush in a back and forth scrubbing motion with a soft compact toothbrush, considering the circular motion I began using a while back has caused me problems.  Also, how can I let my irritated gums heal without causing further toothbrush damage.  When my gums become irritated from brushing I have a tendency to avoid having the toothbrush bristles come in contact with my gums and it obviously isn't helping the situation.  Is it safe to brush your gums with a toothbrush?
3 Responses
Avatar universal
This is a difficult question without seeing you. If you do not  have the correct type of gum tissue around a certain tooth the gum tissue will continue to break down and possibly be inflamed. At your age I would be concerned about the recession. At this point I don't think the method of toothbrushing will mean anything. I think that the architecture of the gum tissue has to be corrected and then an appropriate toothbrushing method can be taught to yhou. I would hope that you are consulting a periodontist for this problem.
Avatar universal
toothbrush abrasion happens to tooth structure, not gums, and the damage to such tooth structure will not "heal". the enamel is thin at the gumline, and there is no enamel below the gumline, so if the gums recede, softer tooth structure called dentin will be exposed and is easily worn away by the brush. you should be using only a soft bristle toothbrush-- nothing electric in my opinion. ask your hygienist to go over proper brushing technique with you. if the abrasion is bad, or if the teeth are sensitive due to the exposed, abraded dentin, then bonding can be done to "fill in " the abraded areas. you may then be a candidate for grafting where tissue (usually from the palate) is grafted to your existing gum tissue. be careful here. sometimes the materials used to bond teeth can make the teeth even more sensitie so be sure to discuss this with your dentist. The restorations also  must be exqusitely  done and well polished, so grafted tissue does not react unfavorably to the bonded restorations. if you have no sensitiity, and the cosmetic issue does not bother you, then I would be hesitant to do anything other than modify your brush and your technique. If the issue is one of sensitivity only, ask your dentist about dentinal sealers such as "super seal" which is very easy and inexpensive to apply, and basically clogs the tubules in the dentin leading to the nerve, so sensitivity is decreased. sometimes you need a few applications. in my opinion, abrasion defects without decay can sometimes be monitored only and do not always require treatment. If many teeth are involved, and the cost is substantial, get a 2nd opinion from another Dentist, preferably one you are referred to by a good friend.  good luck
Avatar universal
A related discussion, Treatment for gumline erosion was started.
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
If you suffer from frequent headaches, jaw clicking and popping ear pain, you may have TMJ. Top dentist Hamidreza Nassery, DMD, has the best TMJ treatments for you.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.