When the gum tissue gradually pulls away from the teeth, it is referred to as gum recession. Over time the gum tissue wears away or loosens, exposing more of the tooth material and even some of the root portion of the teeth. When this happens the exposed root can be sensitive to typical aggravators like cold, heat, and sugar. It can also mean your teeth are less supported and may become loose.
What can be done about gum recession? Can the lost gum tissue be replaced? Learn how gum recession can be reversed through periodontal treatment.
What Causes Gum Recession?
There are a few possible causes of receding gums:
- Gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue caused by plaque buildup on the teeth. When gum disease is present it can cause the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth.
- Tooth decay. In places where tooth decay is present, the gum tissue may pull away from the teeth.
- Brushing and flossing habits. Brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush, applying too much pressure, or brushing too frequently can wear away the gum tissue or cause irritation that may make the gums recede. Using abrasive toothpaste can also contribute to the problem. Flossing too harshly or too frequently may also cause gum recession. It is best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day, both gently.
- Genetics. Some people have a genetic predisposition to receding gums. If your biological parents had the same issue, you may experience it yourself.
- Aging. Gum tissue may deteriorate over time due to age. Some gum recession is normal, but if it becomes a problem it may need to be treated.
How is Gum Recession Reversed?
The most common way to reverse receding gums is with gum grafting. Soft tissue is taken from another place in the mouth and attached to the teeth where the gum tissue has receded or to use donor tissue. It is sutured into place while the tissue heals and bonds to the tooth.
Another option for reversing receding gums involves loosening the gum tissue around the tooth and repositioning it to cover more of the tooth, especially the exposed root. This can reduce sensitivity and improve the esthetics. Sometimes, stimulating agents are applied during the procedure to enhance the positive outcome.
After your procedure you’ll need to eat soft foods for a few days while the tissue heals. Your dentist will let you know when it is safe to brush and floss in the area where the gum graft took place.
Can Gum Recession Be Prevented?
There are ways to reduce the chances of gum recession:
- Good oral hygiene habits. Keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque will reduce the chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease that causes gum recession.
- Using the right toothbrush and toothpaste. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth twice a day can reduce gum irritation and recession.
- Go to the dentist regularly. You should be going to the dentist at least every 6 months for dental cleanings and exams. Professional cleanings remove plaque left behind after brushing and flossing. Regular exams can detect the early signs of gum recession so that measures can be taken to slow or reverse the process.
Who Should I See for Gum Grafting?
If your gums are noticeably receding and causing problems such as sensitivity, you may be in need of a gum grafting procedure. Progressive Periodontics & Implant Dentistry provides gum grafting for patients who are experiencing significant recession. As an expert in this field, Dr. Gordon can apply years of experience to aid in resolving these kinds of issues. After a brief evaluation, we can determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.