Receding Gums: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

by maria | Last Updated: March 20, 2021

All You Need to Know About Receding Gums

The soft, dense, pink tissue surrounding the teeth, called gums or gingivae, could recede due to physical wear, poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, or in some cases due to genetic factors. If you are noticing a gradual pullback of soft tissue surrounding your tooth, you should immediately consult a dentist as ignoring it for long could result in gap formation between teeth and gum line and ultimately the tooth loss. Gum recession is pretty common, especially in seniors and those who smoke or chew tobacco, but an experienced dentist could treat it successfully using suitable treatments including deep cleaning, infection control, and tissue grafting. So, if you are experiencing sensitivity and your tooth looks longer than normal, you should get in touch with your dentist to control and treat gum receding.     

Causes of Receding Gums

The main reasons for gum recession are poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, and physical wear due to aggressive brushing using hard bristles. In some cases, gums could recede due to genetic factors, which could be gum thickness and dental structure.    

If your tooth brushing is not balanced, then the left side could start receding more due to additional pressure exerted by the use of the right hand. Foreign objects in the mouth like tongue or lip piercing and dental treatment tools could trigger a recession.   

In some cases, gums tissue is thinner than average which is more prone to inflammation, resulting in gradual gums recession. Deficiency of nutrients, particularly Vitamin C, triggers gums inflammation and bleeding, thus making tissue weak.   

Plaque buildup could cause gums inflammation, which could lead to a disease called periodontitis, resulting in gaps form between teeth and gums. If left untreated, it could lead to connective fibers degeneration and bone loss.

Although age is the main factor, gums could recede in adults also due to poor dental hygiene, bad brushing habits, and of course the use of tobacco.   

Symptoms of Gums Recession 

Gums start receding gradually, so you might notice it in the early days. Here are some of the primary signs you should be aware of to start treatment early to avoid tooth decay and loss:

5 Gums Recession Treatments 

Early diagnosis and the start of treatment are crucial so your dentist will look into your medical history, oral hygiene, and food habits to determine the severity of gums recession. Some medications cause dry mouth, so you should share all possible details to help the dentist identify the root cause.

The next step involves examining dental structure, cleanliness, testing easy bleeding. An experienced dentist will measure gaps between teeth and gums, which should ideally be between 1 and 3 mm. If the pocket depth is larger than 4 mm, the dentist will take an x-ray to check bone loss. Based on the diagnosis, your dentist might recommend these gums recession treatments:  

1. Scaling

If your gums-recession is diagnosed early, your dentist might do scaling to remove tartar and bacteria. Dental scaling is a non-surgical procedure performed using a laser or an ultrasonic device.

2. Root Planing

It is done to smooth the root surfaces so that tartar buildup and bacterial deposition could be minimized. Removal of bacterial byproducts lessens inflammation and encourages gums reattachment.

3. Medication

 If diagnosed early gums recession could be treated with suitable medication, which could be a combination of antibiotics and multivitamins. Your dentist might recommend a topical antibiotic to apply to gums for deep cleansing.

4. Flap Surgery

If your gums-recession has reached an advanced stage, your dentist might conduct flap surgery, also called pocket reduction surgery. The procedure involves making a small incision to lift soft tissue back for more effective scaling and root planing. In some cases, the underlying bone could be re-contoured. 

5. Soft Tissue Grafting

If gum recession is highly advanced, your dentist might conduct soft tissue grafting to reinforce damaged soft tissue. The procedure involves the removal of soft tissue from the palate and attaching it to the receding gum-line.  

Bottom Line

Some more treatments for acute periodontitis, which triggers gums recession, are bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration, and application of tissue-stimulating protein gel. The selection of treatment will depend on your case, so it is better to consult an experienced dentist before it is too late.

Maria Giovanisci is an enterprising dentist from London. Maria graduated from the University of Murcia and began her professional career in her own dental clinic before, she decided to embark on a joint project with her two colleagues. Aside from contributing on this blog, she also works in the public health sector at the new Torrevieja Hospital.

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