Gum recession occurs when the gum tissues surrounding the teeth recede, exposing the underlying root structure of the tooth. Gum recession can be localized to just one tooth or generalized throughout the mouth.
Causes of Gum Recession
- Aggressive tooth brushing: Brushing too aggressively or pressing too hard with your toothbrush can lead to gum recession. Make sure to use either a soft or super soft manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, and brush gently at the gum line.
- Clenching or grinding habit: Too many forces on the teeth can be too much for the bone and gums to handle, and they can recede down. If you know you clench or grind your teeth at night, be sure to have a night guard made at your dental office, which will prevent excessive force and thus prevent further gum recession
- Trauma: Such as from an oral piercing or an injury to a tooth. These can both affect the amount of gum tissue surrounding a tooth and lead to gum recession
Prevention of Gum Recession
- Make sure to either use a super soft, soft or electric toothbrush.
- Never use a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush as they are too aggressive for the gums.
- Make sure to brush gently on your gum line with your toothbrush. Never apply too much pressure or brush too aggressively.
- You can use an electric toothbrush with a pressure indicator light that tells you when you are applying too much pressure.
- Make sure to use a night guard if you clench or grind your teeth at night.
- Switch your oral piercings from metal to plastic to reduce the amount of trauma on the gums
- Wear a sports guard for contact sports
Treatment of Gum Recession
- Once gum recession occurs, it cannot grow back, but it can be maintained.
- If gum recession is under a couple of millimetres, it can be monitored.
- Sometimes if there is sensitivity associated with the exposed root, a small filling can be placed over the top to protect the tooth from sensitivity and wear.
- If the recession is deep, the best treatment option is grafting, where a piece of gum tissue is stitched overtop and left to heal
If you believe you may have gum recession or have any questions about the cause/prevention or treatment for gum recession, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.