Open tooth necks - causes and treatment

Open tooth necks - causes and treatment

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The enjoyable feasting of ice cream is not a pleasure for everyone. A sharp pain can quickly spoil the joy of it. But hot drinks, sweets or sour foods can also cause pain when eating. This is usually due to open or exposed tooth necks.

Usually, the tooth neck is protected from the gums like a coat. However, if this withdraws, the tooth neck is exposed. Part of the root surface may even be exposed by the gum loss. Both lead to pain. However, open tooth necks can also be painless. The expression "my teeth are getting longer" is often used for this.


There are many possible causes for open tooth necks. Inflammation of the gums, acute injuries, nocturnal teeth grinding, misaligned teeth, incorrect brushing technique, insufficient oral hygiene, incorrect handling of dental floss and piercings in the mouth are known to be triggers.

The most common cause - inflammation

Inflammation, especially chronic, is the most common cause of open tooth necks. The inflammation mostly arises from inadequate oral hygiene. Reddened gums, bleeding and swelling of the gums should be taken seriously. In the event of such complaints, a dentist should be consulted promptly.

Bacteria in the mouth that are not removed regularly are deposited as plaque on the teeth. If the coating is not removed regularly, it solidifies and tartar is formed. This rough surface makes it easy for bacteria to attach - a vicious cycle begins. The permanent stimulus causes inflammation, the gums withdraw and the tooth necks are free. These are then exposed to the bacteria without protection.

Gum infections can also be caused by hormonal fluctuations, for example during pregnancy or in the menopause. Every pregnant woman should know how important oral hygiene is at this time - for herself and for the child. Certain medications, poor nutrition, vitamin C deficiency and smoking are also possible causes of gum inflammation.

Gnashing of teeth

Grinding your teeth, known in the technical language as bruxism, can also lead to tooth necks. Teeth grinding has a variety of causes: irregular tooth position, developmental disorders of the jaw, teeth of different heights after fillings or dentures, chronic stress and sudden mental stress. As a result of the grinding, the teeth wear out, become sensitive and the gums shrink, which can ultimately lead to exposed tooth necks.


Taking some medication can lead to gum recession or open tooth necks. These drugs include certain antihypertensives and chemotherapy drugs, for example.

Unhealthy nutrition - vitamin deficiency

An unhealthy diet and / or a lack of vitamins can lead to tooth necks. Too much animal protein, white flour products and sweets are not exactly conducive to healthy gums. As a result, the entire organism becomes acidic. An excess of “unhealthy” carbohydrates also creates dental plaque that accelerates the development of gum infections.

Therefore, a basic diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits and low in animal foods is recommended. Adequate hydration in the form of still water or herbal tea is also important. Oils that contain enough omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on the tooth support system. This includes linseed or hemp oil (1 - 3 tbsp a day). If you prefer to take capsules, you can get krill oil.

Healthy oral hygiene

A healthy oral hygiene can support the healing of the gums but also protect against inflammation. Teeth must be brushed at least twice a day, for at least three minutes - the emphasis is on brushing - not scrubbing. Anyone who brushes with a normal manual toothbrush should use soft to medium-hard bristles. Make sure that the toothpaste does not contain too many cleaning agents. If the tooth necks are already affected, they will be damaged even more. It is best to clean at least half an hour after each meal. If you don't have the opportunity, you should at least regularly rinse your mouth. Since there are always germs on the toothbrushes, they should be disinfected regularly - preferably once a day with a drop of grapefruit seed oil.

It is also important to clean the tongue. Suitable tongue scrapers are commercially available for this. Regular flossing is also essential - only this should be done gently and gently. In addition, professional teeth cleaning twice a year is recommended. The teeth are cleaned with the help of special brushes and pastes and then sealed with a varnish if necessary. Coverings no longer get stuck so easily on these smooth surfaces.


Open tooth necks usually cause pain or at least discomfort when eating hot or cold. Cleaning may also be uncomfortable. This is done less carefully, which in turn leads to an increase in germs and can lead to caries or periodontal disease. There may also be the fear of further pain during treatment at the dentist.

Treatment at the dentist

In order to reduce the sensitivity of the open tooth necks to irritation, the dentist applies a special varnish to the teeth. This means that the teeth are no longer “vulnerable”. If the piercing in the mouth is to blame for the exposed tooth necks, this is removed. If the teeth are gritted at night as the cause, a bite splint is made. The affected person may be told how to brush their teeth properly.

At home, a sensitive toothpaste helps - especially for pain-sensitive teeth. In addition, regular use with fluoride gel is recommended.

Inflammation already present must be treated in order to keep the teeth in the long term. If the aesthetics of the patients are very impaired by the open tooth necks, they can be covered or blinded by suitable measures.

Help from naturopathy

For pain caused by open tooth necks, the homeopathic remedy Hypericum (St. John's wort) helps. This is used when the pain persists and feels like nerve pain.
If the symptoms appear suddenly and violently, Aconitum is the right remedy of choice. It is best to suck this in a C12 or C30, 3 globules as a dose. This can also help if patients are terrified of visiting the dentist.
Schüssler salts are also recommended: number 3 Ferrum phosphoricum for inflammation, number 7 Magnesium phosphoricum for the sensitivity to pain of the teeth and number 1 Calcium fluoratum for strengthening the gums.

Home remedies

To tackle open tooth necks, the gums must be strengthened. The following home remedies help here: First of all, the ratanhia root should be mentioned. It contains tannins. These are anti-inflammatory and contracting. Tinctures and mouthwashes are commercially available. Both are diluted with a little water and the mouth is rinsed, preferably after each meal. Other home remedies are clove oil or myrrh tincture. Both take away the pain, have a healing and strengthening effect on the gums. The oil is not used undiluted, but mixed with a little water. The same applies to myrrh tincture. With both, the gums are dabbed twice a day using a cotton swab.

The following mouthwash also works with open tooth necks and associated gum problems. A salt and water rinse is prepared by dissolving a teaspoon of good sea salt or Himalayan salt in a large glass with lukewarm water. The mouthwash is ready. This is used several times a day, but at least in the morning and evening after brushing your teeth. It is disinfectant, anti-inflammatory and has a decongestant effect.

Sage and chamomile tea (or both types of tea mixed) can also serve as a conditioner. For this, a strong decoction is produced, which is used as a mouthwash in lukewarm condition.

In the pharmacy, an ointment is also available that contains black cumin oil and is especially useful in the mouth area. This is massaged into the gums twice a day.

Last but not least, pulling oil is a great way to strengthen the gums. Every morning before brushing your teeth, at least a teaspoonful of sunflower oil or sesame oil is chewed in your mouth, with your tongue pressed through your teeth - preferably a little longer every day - until the oil in your mouth has a whitish color. Then this is spit out - ideally in a cloth and not in the sink. Under no circumstances should the oil be swallowed, as this contains the germs from the mouth. Regular oil pulling improves the oral flora and the immune system and the gums are strengthened - good for the open tooth necks. After pulling the oil, brush your teeth and scrape your tongue.


Open tooth necks are definitely a reason for visiting the dentist - as soon as possible. Any inflammation must be treated, the reason for the gum loss should be found. Today's dentists have many good treatment options and these are usually painless or at least painless.

It is essential to rethink your own diet and oral hygiene and improve it if necessary. Dietary supplements such as vitamin C and zinc may be necessary to boost the immune system. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Thomas Weber: Memorix Zahnmedizin, Thieme Verlag, 5th edition, 2017
  • Bernd Reitemeier, Norbert Schwenzer, Michael Ehrenfeld: Introduction to dentistry, Thieme Verlag, 1st edition, 2006
  • Hans-Peter Müller: Periodontology, Thieme Verlag, 3rd edition, 2012

ICD codes for this disease: K08ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find yourself e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.

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