Fort Bend Dental

Gum Recession: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

By Dwight D. Peccora, DDS on April 03, 2019

An illustration of receding gumsGum recession is a widespread dental health issue. In fact, it can even affect those who practice diligent oral hygiene. The condition occurs when the gum tissue around your teeth pulls back, exposing the tooth roots and leaving you vulnerable to gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss.

At Fort Bend Dental in Missouri City, TX practice, we can treat mild gum recession with scaling and root planing treatment. For more advanced cases, we may recommend a soft-tissue graft to restore a healthy gum line. Learn more about gum recession treatment, as well its causes and how it can be prevented, in this blog post.

Symptoms of Gum Recession

Symptoms of gum recession can vary significantly for each patient. Some of the most common warning signs include:

  • Exposed tooth roots
  • Shrinking gums
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Tooth mobility
  • Red or swollen gum tissue
  • Discomfort or pain along the gum line
  • Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
  • Persistent bad breath

Common Causes of Gum Recession

Gum recession can occur for a number of reasons. The most common include:

  • Advanced periodontal disease: Advanced gum disease often results in a chronic bacterial infection, which can erode the gum and bone tissue around the teeth if left untreated.
  • Aggressive brushing: It is important to use a soft-bristled brush when cleaning your teeth. Brushing too aggressively or using a hard-bristled brush can damage the gums and cause recession.
  • Trauma or injury: Anytime the soft tissues in the mouth are injured, it increases the risk for gum recession. This is one of the many reasons we recommend wearing a custom mouth guard when playing contact sports or other physical activities.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking is one of the most common causes of gum disease, which often, in turn, leads to recession.
  • Bruxism: Teeth grinding or clenching places extreme stress on the teeth and supporting gums. Over time, this can lead to oral health issues, including recession.
  • Oral piercings: If an oral piercing rubs against the gum tissue, it can lead to recession over time.

Treating Gum Recession

The treatment recommended for gum recession will depend on the severity of your condition. Mild gum recession caused by infection can be effectively treated with scaling and root planing.

During this procedure, your doctor or hygienist will administer local anesthesia and clean deep into the gum line. This process gently sweeps away plaque and bacteria and smooths the root surfaces to prevent further issues from developing.

If you have advanced recession, however, you will need a gum graft procedure. This process involves taking a small wedge of tissue from the roof of the mouth and moving it to the recessed area. In some cases, donor tissue can be used instead.

This treatment rebuilds lost gum tissue, creating a strong band of tissue to protect the teeth. As an added bonus, the overall aesthetics of your smile are often enhanced, as well.

How to Prevent Gum Recession

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to prevent this condition altogether. To reduce your risk, we recommend that you:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Avoid brushing aggressively
  • Wear a mouth guard when playing sports
  • Consider a custom night guard if you suffer from bruxism
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Attend all routine dental cleanings and examinations

Contact Fort Bend Dental

If you notice exposed teeth roots, red gums, or other symptoms of gum recession, schedule a consultation at our practice. We can help you determine the cause of your condition and recommend appropriate, effective treatment. Contact us online anytime or give us a call at (281) 342-6178 or (281) 499-3541.

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