Receding Gums: Causes and Treatment

Receding Gums: Causes and Treatment

Receding Gums: Causes and Treatment

Receding Gums: Causes and Treatment

November 29, 2021
woman with receding gums

Gum recession describes the situation where the gum tissue surrounding the teeth pulls back or wears away. This pulling back of the gum exposes more of the tooth. Gum recession can lead to the creation of gaps or “pockets” that form between the gumline and the teeth.

The condition can encourage the buildup of disease-causing bacteria. If this is not treated, the supporting bone structure and tissue can undergo severe damage, resulting in tooth loss. Gum recession occurs gradually, and most people do not realize they have it until they start experiencing tooth sensitivity.

Symptoms of Receding Gums

Some signs or symptoms can signify that you have receding gums. The symptoms include red and swollen gums, bleeding after flossing or brushing, bad breath, and pain along the gumline. Other symptoms are loose teeth, exposed tooth roots, and gums that are visibly shrunken. A dentist will be able to diagnose the condition conclusively. 

Causes of Receding Gums

Gum recession can be caused by different factors. They include periodontal disease, misaligned teeth, poor dental care habits, mouth piercings, using tobacco products, bruxism, and aggressive tooth brushing. 

Gum recession can result from hormonal changes such as during menopause, pregnancy, and puberty. Genes can also be a factor in gum recession. Some people are more predisposed to getting gum recession regardless of their dental hygiene practices.

Treating Gum Recession

When gum recession is mild or in the early stages, deep cleaning can treat it. Also called root planing or tooth scaling, deep cleaning involves the removal of plaque and tartar buildup. By deep cleaning the teeth and below the gumline, the exposed area remains much smoother. 

This makes the area less susceptible to the growth of bacteria. In some cases, antibiotics clear the remaining harmful bacteria. If the gum recession is severe, gum surgery may be necessary to repair the damage. The early treatment repairs the gum, preventing further damage.

Surgery for Gum Recession

In situations where surgery is the only option to treat receding gums, dentists may decide to use one of several surgical procedures. The procedure used will depend on the extent of the recession. The procedures include open flap scaling and root planing, regeneration, and soft tissue grafts. Your dentist will help determine the procedure that is best for you, depending on your needs.  

Preventing Gum Recession

The best thing you can do to prevent receding gums is to take care of your oral health. Brushing and flossing daily and regular visits to the dentist are necessary to prevent gum recession. If you have signs of receding gums, you need to visit your dentist two or more times a year. Other things that you can do include quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and monitoring changes in your mouth. 

Receding gums can lead to tooth loss. Early treatment is vital to avoid this condition. Early diagnosis and treatment will result in a better outcome. If you notice that a tooth or several teeth appear longer than normal, visit a dentist as soon as possible. This is a common sign of receding gums. In some cases, you may feel a notch close to the gumline. 


For more on receding gums, visit Armbrust Dental at our office in Omaha, Nebraska. You can call 402-396-0003 today to schedule an appointment.