Receding gums are painful and can lead to additional problems. Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry, discusses holistic treatments for gum recession. Listen or read more to find out about holistic cures for gum recession.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. And I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole-body health. Today our topic is holistic cures for gum recession. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi John. How are you?

John: Good, thanks. So, Dr. Nammy, what is gum recession? And what causes that?

Dr. Nammy:  So, gum recession is when the gum tissue is going away from the tooth, aka, receding from the tooth. And that’s what gum recession is. So, the tooth, it has bone that is surrounding it and on top of the bone is tissue. So that tissue is really important because it keeps the bone in place. If we, for example, brush too hard, it will cause the gum tissues to recede. It’s kind of like if we scrub our skin a little too much, we’ll get like a callous or we’ll get some sort of abrasion.

So, that’s basically what gum recession is. And there are so many causes of gum recession. One could be crunching and grinding the teeth. The second is positioning of the teeth. So, for example, if the teeth are crowded and not in the proper position. What’ll happen is when you’re brushing your teeth, you’re going to brush one tooth more than the other. And that causes a lot of gum recession. The other is excessive force from brushing. So, if you’re brushing a little too hard or using like a medium or a hard toothbrush, it’ll end up causing gum recession.

Dangers of Receding Gums

John: And then, what is it that is the problem with gum recession? Does it actually affect your teeth in terms of how your guns are holding your teeth in? Or is it just more of a cosmetic thing that it kind of looks bad to have your gums receding?

Dr. Nammy:  Well, it’s both. One of the most important things about the gum, as I was saying earlier, is that it keeps the bone there. So, if you lose gum tissue, you will automatically lose bone. And then it’s vice versa. If you lose bone, you’ll automatically lose gum tissue. So, the gum tissue is really important. It’s like a tight lining. Like the outer layer of our skin, it’s really important that it’s present because it’s a protective layer. It protects us from sensitivity, otherwise our root surfaces get sensitive. Also, if there’s too much gum recession and bone loss that you end up losing the tooth.

Traditional Gum Recession Treatments

John: Okay, interesting. What are some of the traditional treatments for gum recession? And what are some of the issues with traditional types of treatments?

Dr. Nammy:  So, majority of dentistry will do, one is to watch the gum recession get worse over time. The second, will be doing gum grafting. So, gum grafting are painful procedures where they take connective tissue from the palate and they stitch it onto the gums. And you have to wait six or eight weeks for everything to heal up. And there’s stitches, there’s sutures. It’s hard to talk. It’s a really complicated process. The other thing is that it’s not 100% predictable.

The odds of it being predictable are usually about 50 to at most 60%. You can do everything right, but your body may not take the graft because it is taking a foreign material. Even though it’s from the inside of your mouth many times or from a Petri dish and then putting it in with the gums and making it mesh together.

John: Huh. Interesting. Any other sort of traditional treatments for gum recession that people use?

Dr. Nammy:  That’s mostly what is mostly used further, is basically stitches, and the needles and painful healing.

John: None of which, it sounds like to me that I would want going on in my mouth.

Dr. Nammy:  Yeah.

John: That must be really, really painful and it would make it hard to eat. Just lots of issues there.

Dr. Nammy:  Yeah, absolutely.

Holistic Gum Recession Treatments

John: So, what are some, then, holistic treatments for gum recession? What is it that you do to help you?

Dr. Nammy:  So, the first thing I do is we look at the cause of the gum recession. What has actually caused the gum recession? If the first step is it’s a positioning of the teeth. If the teeth are crooked, guaranteed there’s going to be gum recession there. Because again, when one tooth is sticking out more than the other, just naturally as we use our mouth, we’re going to abrade one area more than the other. So, the first step is to straighten the teeth out. As we move the teeth in their proper place, we can actually get gum tissue to grow back naturally on its own. So, that’s my first approach is what I like to do.

Now, the second thing that I do with gum recession is called the pinhole technique or the pinhole gum rejuvenation. In that process, we use a tiny little pinhole and we make little pinholes in specific areas near the gum recession. Then what we do is reflect the tissue and just put stuff at with collagen. So, this collagen is made in a Petri dish. And when we stuff it with collagen, what your body does is uses that collagen to make more gum tissue. Because gum tissue is like skin, it has a lot of collagen in it.

So, the analogy I always like to say is I stuff it like a turkey. And then your body is going to try to fight off the bacteria. And what it’ll do is it’ll use that collagen and create scar tissue. Which is what we want because the tissue that comes back is actually healthier and stronger.

John: Is that sort of similar in a way to some types of, I’ve heard of medical spa places where they might do some similar treatments on people’s faces to fill in wrinkles and things like that? It almost sounds sort of similar to that.

Dr. Nammy:  You know that thing with between what you hear about medical treatments, they’ll have something called Botox, which is a foreign substance. The thing about pinhole is that, or the collagen is that it lasts forever. You don’t have to replace it. For Botox, to get rid of the wrinkles, you have to go in every four to six weeks and they’re fillers. So, they’re filled in for a temporary amount of time. With something like pinhole gum rejuvenation, you will do that process and it’ll last you a lifetime. Or it can last up to a lifetime.

John: And it actually causes your gums to actually kind of grow back. So, you’re reversing that gum recession problem.

Dr. Nammy:  Exactly. You’re curing it.

How Straightening Teeth Can Improve Gums

John: All right. Interesting. Tell us a little bit about the straightening. You said that by straightening your teeth and correcting that position of the teeth, that that can actually help to cause your gums to grow back as well. What are some of the ways that you prefer to straighten people’s teeth?

Dr. Nammy:  So, what happens in when we move a tooth, we have to move bone. It’s kind of like a tree. If you’re going to want to get the tree to move to one side, you can move the soil. And what happens is that as you move the tooth, there’s one area of the tooth that is being eaten away or the bone is being eaten away.

And there’s another area where the bone is being deposited or added. So, as we know, when you lose gum tissue, you will lose bone. When you add bone, you’ll always get gum tissue with it too. So, as we position the teeth, the areas of the gum recession, usually that’s where the area that the bone is added. And so, the gum tissue comes back naturally.

John: All right. That’s really a great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy:  My pleasure, John.

John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at SFGreenDentist.com or call 415-578-9347.