top of page

Gingival recession

Gingival recession, also known as receding gums, is a dental condition characterized by the progressive exposure of the tooth's root surface due to the recession or pulling back of the gingival tissue (gums). In a healthy oral environment, the gum tissue surrounds and protects the tooth, anchoring it in place and preventing exposure of the root surface. However, various factors can contribute to gingival recession, leading to the uncovering of the tooth's root.

gingival recession

Causes of Gingival Recession

  1. Periodontal Disease: Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are significant contributors to gingival recession. These conditions involve inflammation and infection of the gum tissues, leading to the destruction of the supporting structures, including the bone that holds the teeth in place.

  2. Aggressive Tooth Brushing: Brushing the teeth with excessive force or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can contribute to gum tissue trauma and recession. Abrasive brushing wears down the protective gum tissue, exposing the tooth roots over time.

  3. Genetic Factors: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to have thinner or more fragile gum tissues, making them more susceptible to recession.

  4. Malocclusion (Misaligned Teeth): Teeth that are not properly aligned can create uneven forces during biting and chewing. Over time, this can lead to gum recession in certain areas.

  5. Trauma and Injury: Physical trauma to the mouth, such as an injury or accident, can result in damage to the gum tissues and contribute to gingival recession.

  6. Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): Chronic teeth grinding or clenching, often occurring during sleep, can exert excessive pressure on the teeth and gums, leading to recession.

  7. Tobacco Use: Smoking or using tobacco products can impair blood flow to the gums, compromising their ability to heal and resist infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Gingival Recession

  • Visible Roots: The most noticeable sign of gingival recession is the exposure of the tooth roots. The affected teeth may appear longer than usual.

  • Tooth Sensitivity: Exposed tooth roots are more sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet stimuli. Patients may experience discomfort or pain when consuming certain foods or beverages.

  • Spaces Between Teeth: As the gum tissue recedes, it can create spaces or gaps between the teeth.

  • Change in Tooth Appearance: Teeth may appear more elongated, and the smile may exhibit an uneven gumline.

Treatment and Prevention

  1. Scaling and Root Planing: For cases related to gum disease, a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing may be performed to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces and root surfaces.

  2. Gum Grafting: In advanced cases, where the recession is severe, a surgical procedure called gum grafting may be recommended. This involves taking tissue from another part of the mouth (usually the palate) and grafting it onto the affected area to cover exposed roots.

  3. Orthodontic Treatment: In cases where malocclusion contributes to recession, orthodontic treatment to correct tooth alignment may be suggested.

  4. Changing Brushing Habits: Encouraging proper toothbrushing techniques, including using a soft-bristled toothbrush and adopting a gentle brushing motion, can help prevent further recession.

  5. Addressing Bruxism: For individuals with teeth grinding habits, wearing a nightguard may help protect the teeth and gums.

  6. Regular Dental Check-ups: Routine dental visits allow the dentist to monitor the gum health and address any signs of recession early on.

Gingival recession is a progressive condition that, if left untreated, can lead to more serious dental issues, including tooth sensitivity, decay, and eventual tooth loss. Therefore, early detection and appropriate intervention are crucial for maintaining optimal oral health. Individuals experiencing symptoms of gingival recession should consult with a periodontist for a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan.

bottom of page