What is gum recession?

When the edge of the gum tissue that wraps around the teeth reduces or recedes, this is called gum or gingival recession. Gum recession may be mild, moderate or severe. In mild cases, a small part of the tooth is exposed when the gum tissue recedes. In moderate to severe cases, more of the tooth and even the root of the tooth may be exposed due to the amount of recession that occurs.


How goes gum recession affect me?

When gum or gingival recession is present, gaps can be created between the teeth and the gum. These gaps which are also referred to as pockets, make it easy for bacteria to hide in and grow. Over time this can lead to damage to nearby bone and tissues around the teeth. When too much bone is lost, tooth loss is possible due to lack of supporting structures.

How do I know if I have gum recession?


Some patients may experience sensitivity or increased sensitivity with gum recession. Notice the severe loss of gum tissue and bone loss on the two top teeth in the front. If you look in the mirror and your gum line appears higher in certain areas than others, this may be an indication that you have gum or gingival recession. If you notice any notches, lines or grooves in your teeth near the gum line or where the gum should be, this could indicate gum loss in that area.

What are the causes?

One of the main causes is due to aggressive toothbrushing or brushing with a hard or medium bristled toothbrush. Always remember to use a soft bristled toothbrush and to ask your dental professional to show you the proper technique to brush your teeth.

Another cause may be an abnormal tooth position, due to crowding. This can affect the how the gum rests against the tooth.  Heredity may also play a role. Some people are prone to having thin or inadequate gum tissue. Periodontal disease can also be a cause along with trauma or damage to gum tissues.

How is gum recession treated?

Gum recession can be treated by using a soft-tissue graft or gum graft. This procedure helps to establish additional attached gum tissue to prevent gum recession from advancing. It may also help to regenerate coverage of the tooth root.

If periodontal disease is the cause, treatment includes special hygiene cleaning to remove the bacteria which is responsible. Followed up with proper oral care at home and regular dental hygiene visits, periodontal disease can be stopped and further gum loss can be avoided.

If you think that you have gum recession or if you have been told that you have gum recession and you would like to discuss treatment options, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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