Most times the blame of gum recession is placed on the way we brush. Unamusingly, most people who have receding gums have no idea that it is a dental issue that ought to be treated. On the other hand, some who have noticed do so because the roots of their teeth are exposed or they all of a sudden develop teeth sensitivity. Gum recession is a process where the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away, pulls back, and exposes more teeth than normal. In extreme cases, the tooth can rote. When this occurs, it is easy to welcome tooth decay and periodontal pockets. If ignored, this may further affect the supporting tissue and the bone structures around the teeth, thereby leading to tooth loss. We strongly advise, if you notice that your tooth is receding, kindly book an emergency dental appointment here. 

Why Do Gum Recedes? 

There are a lot of reasons why you may be undergoing gum recession. These reasons include one but all – Periodontal disease. 

  1. Periodontal disease is a disease affecting the gum and the surrounding structures.

There are two types of gingivitis and periodontitis. 

2. Genes 

Research has proven that about 30% of the world’s population are prone to gum disease, irrespective of how they take care of their teeth. If you fall in this category, there are tendencies that you may have gum recession. 

3. Improper/ Aggressive brushing

If you brush hard, there are tendencies that your gums would wear away. It is advised that you brush with the roll method in order to avoid gum recession. 

4. Insufficient Dental Care 

Inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash makes it easy for plaque to turn into calculus (tartar) — a hard substance that builds on and between your teeth and can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. It can lead to gum recession.

5. Hormonal Changes 

In females, during pregnancy, fluctuation in hormonal changes could affect the gum and make them recede. 

6. Tobacco Users 

Using tobacco can affect the gums and make them recede. Aside from gum recession, tobacco can expose your teeth to decay and periodontal diseases. 

7. Grinding of the teeth (Bruxism) 

This habit may involve the use of force to clench deeply on the teeth. When this occurs there are tendencies of biting on the gum thus inviting teeth recession. 

8. Malaligned Teeth 

When the teeth are crooked, this may invite gum recession. It is advised that you treat all kinds of misaligned teeth. To book an appointment, kindly click here. 

9. Piercings 

Piercing is the new norm. When you pierce your gum or tongue, this jewelry can rub on the gum surface and cause wear and tear. 

Gum Recession Treatment

In cases where gum recession is mild, the dentist may just be required to perform a deep cleaning on the affected area. During this procedure, the tartar or plaque on the tooth is carefully removed and the exposed root area is smoothed in order to avoid the build-up of bacteria.  Sometimes, you may be placed on antibiotics in order to help stop the buildup of bacteria if already started. In extreme cases, cases where gum recession has affected the bones and created pockets, you may be required to undergo surgery in order to deal with gum recession.  The following type of surgery may be required –

  • Open flap scaling and root planing: During this procedure, the dentist or periodontist (gum doctor) folds back the affected gum tissue, removes the harmful bacteria from the pockets, and then snugly secures the gum tissue in place over the tooth root, thus eliminating the pockets or reducing their size.
  • Regeneration: If the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed as a result of gum recession, a procedure to regenerate lost bone and tissue may be recommended. As in pocket depth reduction, your dentist will fold back the gum tissue and remove the bacteria. A regenerative material, such as a membrane, graft tissue, or tissue-stimulating protein, will then be applied to encourage your body to naturally regenerate bone and tissue in that area. After the regenerative material is put in place, the gum tissue is secured over the root of the tooth or teeth.
  • Soft tissue graft: There are several types of gum tissue graft procedures, but the most commonly used one is called a connective tissue graft. In this procedure, a flap of skin is cut at the roof of your mouth (palate) and tissue from under the flap, called subepithelial connective tissue, is removed and then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. After the connective tissue — the graft — has been removed from under the flap, the flap is stitched back down. During another type of graft, called a free gingival graft, the tissue is taken directly from the roof of the mouth instead of under the skin. Sometimes, if you have enough gum tissue surrounding the affected teeth, the dentist is able to graft gum from near the tooth and not remove tissue from the palate. This is called a pedicle graft.

Your dentist can determine the best type of procedure to use on you based on your individual needs.

How Can I Prevent Gum Recession?

The best way to prevent gum recession is to take good care of your mouth. Brush and floss your teeth every day and see your dentist or periodontist at least twice a year, or as recommended. If you have gum recession, your dentist may want to see you more often. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and ask your dentist to show you the proper way to brush your teeth. If a misaligned bite or teeth grinding is the cause of gum recession, talk to your dentist about how to correct the problem.