Cause, Symptoms and Treatment of Gum Recession: Your Complete Guide

Gum Recession - symptom, reasons and treatment

Gum recession, also known as gingival recession, is a dental condition in which the gums that surround the teeth begin to pull back or wear away, exposing more of the tooth’s root or the lower part of the tooth. This condition can lead to various dental problems and discomfort.

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Symptoms of Gum Recession:

Symptoms of gum recession include:

  1. Tooth Sensitivity: Exposed tooth roots can lead to increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
  2. Visible Roots: Teeth may appear longer, and a notch at the gum-line may become noticeable.
  3. Gum Swelling and Redness: In some cases, the gums may become swollen and appear red.
  4. Bleeding Gums: Receded gums can bleed during brushing and flossing.
  5. Bad Breath: Gum recession can contribute to bad breath (halitosis) if bacteria accumulate in the exposed root surfaces.

Causes of Gum Recession:

Some common reasons for gum recession include:

  1. Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease): This is one of the leading causes of gum recession. Gingivitis and periodontitis are gum diseases caused by bacterial infections that can damage the supporting structures of the teeth, leading to gum recession.
  2. Aggressive Brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can wear away the gum tissue over time. Gentle and proper brushing techniques are important.
  3. Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to have thinner or more fragile gum tissue, making them more susceptible to gum recession.
  4. Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco can contribute to gum problems, including gum recession. Nicotine can restrict blood flow to the gums, impairing their ability to heal.
  5. Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing practices can lead to the buildup of plaque and tartar, which can irritate and inflame the gums, eventually causing recession.
  6. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those during pregnancy, menopause, or menstruation, can make the gums more vulnerable to gum recession.
  7. Teeth Misalignment or Bruxism: Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can put excessive pressure on specific areas of the gums, leading to recession. Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching) can also contribute to gum recession.
  8. Lip or Tongue Piercings: Oral piercings can cause irritation and trauma to the gums, which may lead to gum recession over time.
  9. Orthodontic Treatment: In some cases, orthodontic appliances or braces can cause minor gum recession due to the pressure they exert on the teeth and gums. This is often temporary and can be managed by an orthodontist.
  10. Trauma: Physical injury to the mouth or gums can result in tissue damage and potential gum recession.
  11. Gum Overgrowth: In some cases, excessive gum tissue (gingival hyperplasia) can cause the gums to cover more of the tooth surface, making it appear as though the gums have receded.
  12. Aging: As people age, natural changes in the gums and oral tissues can result in gum recession.

Treatment for Gum Recession:

Here are some common treatments for gum recession:

  1. Improved Oral Hygiene: In mild cases, addressing the root cause of gum recession may involve improving your oral hygiene practices. This includes proper brushing and flossing techniques and regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist or dental hygienist can provide guidance on how to care for your gums and teeth effectively.
  2. Scaling and Root Planing: If gum recession is caused by gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing may be recommended. This treatment involves removing tartar and bacteria from the tooth’s surface and root to promote gum healing.
  3. Gum Grafting: In more severe cases of gum recession, gum grafting is a surgical procedure to cover the exposed tooth roots. There are several types of gum grafts, including: a. Connective Tissue Graft: This is the most common type of gum graft. It involves taking a piece of tissue from under the roof of your mouth and attaching it to the area with recession b. Free Gingival Graft: This graft involves taking tissue directly from the roof of your mouth and attaching it to the exposed root. c. Allografts and Xenografts: In some cases, graft material from human donors (allograft) or animal sources (xenograft) may be used instead of your own tissue.
  4. Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST): PST is a less invasive method to treat gum recession. It involves making tiny incisions in the gum tissue and then repositioning it to cover the exposed roots. This method typically has a shorter recovery time compared to traditional gum grafting.
  5. Periodontal Regeneration: In more advanced cases, your dentist or periodontist may use techniques and materials to regenerate lost gum and bone tissue, helping to reverse gum recession.
  6. Orthodontic Treatment: In some cases, if misalignment of teeth is causing gum recession, orthodontic treatment may be recommended to reposition the teeth properly.
  7. Lifestyle Changes: If lifestyle factors such as smoking or tobacco use are contributing to gum recession, quitting these habits is essential for successful treatment and preventing further recession.

Treatment for gum recession depends on its cause and severity. Mild cases may be managed with improved oral hygiene practices and regular dental cleanings. In more severe cases, treatments like gum grafting may be necessary to cover exposed tooth roots and prevent further recession.

It’s important to address gum recession promptly to prevent dental problems and maintain oral health. If you suspect you have gum recession or other dental concerns, it’s advisable to consult a dentist or periodontist for an evaluation and appropriate treatment recommendations.

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