What is Gingival Recession?

Gingival recession is also called receding gums. It refers to the process by which your gums, which normally cover the tooth roots, begins to recede and pull away from the tooth, exposing some of the tooth root. This leaves the root susceptible to bacteria, plaque, and other types of decay.gingival recession - paid - Depositphotos 235935672 s-2019

Gingival recession is fairly common. In fact, it is the most common observed process in dental patients, regardless of age or ethnicity. Age is one of the most common risk factors. Statistically, 88 percent of people over the age of 65 have receding gums around at least one tooth. This fact is clearly associated with the expression that someone is growing “long in the tooth,” meaning aging.

Causes of Gingival Recession

Gingival recession typically results from:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tooth movement in orthodontic treatment
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Ongoing trauma (brushing too hard)
  • Abnormal bite (how teeth are aligned)
  • Inherited factors: tooth position and gum thickness
  • Lip piercings, damage caused by dental treatment.

Any of these factors may contribute to gingival recession.

Problems Resulting from Gingival Recession

Often, people are not aware of the causes or of recession until the problem advances. The primary risks and fears include fear of tooth loss, sensitivity to tooth roots, and effects on appearance (particularly those with a lip line that exposes the gums to view.

Treatment of Gingival Recession

Many cases of gingival recession do not require treatment. These patients are typically advised about how to prevent receding gums, including how to brush gently but effectively.

Some patients do require treatment. A treatment plan may include:

  • Treating and reducing sensitivity in the affected tooth root. This may involve varnishes, dentine bonding materials
  • Restoration with tooth-colored composite material. These resins are used to cover the exposed roots or to close gaps between teeth.
  • Removable veneers (acrylic or silicone.
  • Orthodontics. This would involve changing the position of specific teeth to improve bite.
  • Surgery. In some cases, surgery is needed to graft tissue from another part of the mouth so that it heals over the recession.

Prevention of Gingival Recession

In most cases, gingival recession may be preventable. The preventive steps may depend upon the cause and state of your current recession. If you have observed gingival recession or if your heredity makes you particularly susceptible, open an ongoing conversation with your dentist. Together, you can create an effective preventive and treatment plan.