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Gum recession treatment

Gum recession can happen to people of all ages, although it is more commonly seen in older adults. It is often the result of years of aggressive toothbrushing or it could be a sign of something more serious such as a more advanced form of gum disease.

What are the signs of gum recession?

Gum recession is a condition where the gums pull away from the teeth. When gums recede, the teeth often look longer as more of the root surfaces of the teeth are exposed. Some people with gum recession may also notice loose teeth or increased sensitivity to hot and cold.

SEE ALSO: Gum disease increases women’s risk of breast cancer

What are the common causes of gum recession?

  • gum (periodontal) disease
  • brushing your teeth too hard
  • heavy buildup of plaque
  • injury to gum tissues
  • partial dentures that don’t fit right
  • smoking and tobacco use
  • genetics

Should you worry about gum recession?

Receding gums not only affect the aesthetics of your smile, but it can also increase your risk of other dental problems. As gum recession progresses, ‘pockets’ form between teeth and the gums where plaque can build up. This may lead to severe gum disease and even tooth loss.

Signs of gum disease

What are available treatments for gum recession?

There are many ways to address gum recession and your dentist will recommend a treatment that’s appropriate for you.

  • If your gums recede because of gum disease, your dentist may recommend a non-surgical treatment called scaling and deep planing. With scaling, all the plaque and calculus (aka ‘tartar’ or hardened plaque) are removed above and below your gumline. With root planing, your dentist will smooth out the roots of your teeth to promote healing and to help your gums reattach to your teeth. Scaling and root planing may take more than one visit and may require a local anesthetic to reduce any discomfort. Our dentists may refer you to our dental hygienist or to our periodontist (a specialist in gum disease treatment), for scaling and root planing.
  • If your gum recession is severe, your dentist may recommend a gum graft. A gum graft is commonly performed to treat a more advanced form of gum recession. It involves taking some tissue from your palate or other source in your mouth and attaching it over the area of recession. The graft and your gums will grow and blend together. Once your graft heals, it will cover the exposed tooth roots and protect them from decay.
  • If your gum recession is caused by aggressive brushing, your dentist or hygienist will teach you how to properly clean your teeth without hurting your gums. They may also recommend the right kind of toothbrush and oral care regime for you.
  • If your gum recession is caused by ill-fitting dentures, your dentist can adjust or remake them for you and make sure they don’t harm your gums.

If you notice signs of receding gums, speak to your dentist right away. Gum recession, like most oral conditions, can easily be treated in its early stage.

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