A Guide to Gum Recession

Receding gums can be caused by a number of reasons. But one of the biggest problems is that it is actually quite a difficult condition to spot. If the gums are receding very slowly, it is always difficult to identify very gradual erosion. By then, it could be too late to take the necessary steps to slow it down.

Gum recession is most common in people over the age of 40. However, you could probably amend that to say that it is identified most often when people are in their Forties. In many cases, the gums have begun to recede very slowly before that so there was probably several opportunities for them to be diagnosed and for treatment to start.

So what causes your gums to recede? In the first instance, it can be something as simply as brushing your teeth too hard. We all want to get our teeth as clean as possible, but it is important that you clean your teeth in the right way. Your dentist can explain the right approach to oral hygiene and demonstrate brushing techniques that can ensure that your gums are not damaged. They will also be able to recommend an appropriate toothbrush.

A more serious cause of receding gums is gum disease. If plaque and bacteria are allowed to build up on your teeth, then the bacteria can attack the gums and become embedded into gaps between the gums and the roots of the teeth. Advanced gum disease will need to be treated by a dentist. In the majority of cases, it involves a deep clean of your teeth which includes clearing out the hardened plaque from between the gums and around the roots of the teeth. It requires a local anaesthetic as it can be painful.

The third most common reason for gum recession is orthodontic treatment. When teeth are moved into a better position through an orthodontic treatment, it can often result in the roots of the teeth becoming more prominent. So as the tops of the teeth move to become straighter and to refine the bite and smile, the roots of the teeth can be pushed in the other direction and appear more visible above the gum line.

In cases of serious gum recession, either caused by gum disease or by orthodontic treatment, the only solution may be surgery. Gingival grafting is a treatment that involves grafts from either neighbouring gums or the roof of the mouth onto the affects areas. The surgical procedure is usually performed by a specialist periodontist rather than a dentist and the patient will require a local anaesthetic. Your new gums will usually be healed within the space of about a month. In some cases, once the gums have healed the periodontist may be required to perform some additional shaping to ensure that the gum grafts look as natural as possible.

If you are concerned about your gums receding, there are a number of symptoms that you can watch out for. Of course, you should keep an eye on your gums, but it can be difficult to tell whether they are receding or not unless you have a professional eye. However, if you find that your teeth are becoming more sensitive, this can be an indication that more of your tooth is becoming exposed as the gums recede.

You may also notice a change in the colour of some of your teeth. As the gums recede, the lower part of the tooth which becomes exposed may be whiter than the original crown of the tooth.

It is important that you take responsibility for the health of your own teeth. However, one of the most important things you can do is regularly visit your dentist. As a professional, you dentist will be able to spot whether plaque is building up on your teeth and causing gum disease. They will also be able to identify whether you have cavities below the gum line, which is another indication that gum disease is causing your gums to recede.

Regular visits to your dentist should mean that problems are spotted early and dealt with accordingly. If this happens, then you should be able to maintain healthy gums and healthy teeth for a long time beyond your Forties.