Gum Recession

Find out all about gum recession, also known as receding gums

Gum recession

Gums may recede around the tooth. Gum recession is an oral issue that occurs when the gum tissue surrounding the tooth wears away, exposing the roots. Such loss of periodontal tissue renders the teeth more prone to dental caries, infection and consequent tooth loss.
The problem occurs in one or more teeth or, in extreme cases, in a generalised manner all over the dental arch.
People normally only notice the problem in the advanced stages of the process, on experiencing abnormal sensitivity, localised pain and often inflammation. The process is slow but gradual.
A number of different preventive treatments are available, including professional cleaning by a dentist, grafting of the gum tissue and medication to fight the infection.

What are gums?

Each tooth has shiny pink gum tissue around it. It extends from the line of the gum to the crown of the tooth. When healthy, the gums completely cover the roots of the teeth, their function being to protect them. When gum tissue is lost, the roots are exposed and become vulnerable to bacteria and decay.

Causes of gum loss

1. Most people experience this problem once they reach 65 years of age;
2. Smokers are subject to a greater risk of gum recession;
3. Diabetes increases the risk;
4. Genetic factors need to be taken into account;
5. Poor oral hygiene;
6. Hereditary factors;
7. Brushing too hard and the use of hard-bristle brushes, incorrect brushing;
8. Misaligned teeth in need of dental correction;
9. Piercings in the lips, tongue;
10. Build-up of dental plaque on teeth;
11. Poorly positioned teeth and traumatic occlusion;
12. Gingivitis and periodontitis;
13. Teeth grinding or bruxism.
Most people don´t notice or feel anything at all at the beginning of the process. The first stage is silent, and can cause bad breath, or halitosis.

Treatment of gum recession

The problem can be cured. It all depends on the stage of the process. Recession surgery is performed at the dentist’s using a graft. The use of this solution is necessary when the problem is severe. The gum is removed from another location and sutured to the area to be treated. Some cases involve a bone graft.
Orthodontics corrects the alignment of the teeth. A correction device will push the teeth slowly into the desired position. In some cases this procedure corrects the gum line.
There are pink coloured devices designed to imitate the gums, artificially replacing the area of missing tissue. Composites can be used to restore the tooth, thereby hiding the existing gap.

How to prevent it?

Prevention in the form of regular oral hygiene and brushing is effective. This should be done using a soft-bristle brush, avoiding excessive pressure. Use dental floss.
Brush your teeth regularly before going to bed and after meals.
Avoid smoking. Adopt healthy living habits.
Cleaning or descaling, the removal of tartar, prevents the build-up of bacterial plaque that can cause gum disease such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

How much does gum recession treatment cost?

The cost depends on the size of the area to be treated and the type of surgery or technique required. A medical examination is essential in order to accurately determine the cost of this treatment.

If you are in doubt with regard to treating gum recession, visit your dentist and acquire more information on the issue. If your teeth are sensitive or painful, make an appointment to undergo an examination. Remember that prevention is always the best way of taking care of your oral health.