Gum Recession is very common.Most adults eventually have some gum recession. As long as the remaining “Attached Gingiva” is adequate in thickness, there is no problem.
The Attached Gingiva is a protective barrier against bacteria and debris.
Recession occurs when the “Attached Gingiva” is injured or is pulled away from the neck of the tooth. When this barrier is weak and recedes, the underlying root and bone become infected. This accelerates the bone loss and more recession occurs.
Many patients complain of sensitive teeth to hot cold or sweets when they have recession. Many others notice notching of the roots or the long appearance of a tooth or teeth.
Early detection and treatment is key to success.
Advanced recession can lead to embarrassing tooth loss when it occurs in the esthetic zone or the smile. When the amount of attached gingiva is less than 2 millimeters, there is cause for concern. During a normal dental examination, the dentist should be looking to make sure there are no areas where the attached gingiva is less than 2mm , the tissue is so thin that you can see through it, or a muscle attachment can cause the tissue to blanch when stretched. Any patient wearing lip or tongue rings must we warned of the potential for damage to the teeth and gums due to trauma. Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment must be observed closely before during and after treatment to see in any teeth are likely to be moved out of the bone in order to achieve alignment.
Causes of Recession
- Heredity can be a factor as you inherit body tissue type from your family or origin. A thin or weak inherited gingival tissue type is more prone to recession.
Gum disease (Gingivitis, Periodontitis) can lead to recession over time. Also certain types of treatment for gum disease can cause recession in order to clear up the infection process.
- Prominent roots either occurring naturally or after orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth can lead to recession.
- Muscle pulls from muscle attachments too close to the roots of the teeth can pull on the attached gingiva and lead to recession.
- Aggressive brushing can also lead to recession and put notches in the exposed tooth roots.
- Trauma from excessive biting forces and Bruxism (tooth grinding) can break down tissue and lead to recession.
- Trauma from objects like lip rings, and tongue rings or other habits that place foreign objects on the roots and gingival tissue can lead to severe recession.
Since the causes of gum recession may be a combination and are so varied, proper diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
Treatment of Recession
Depending upon the severity and nature of the recession, there are several courses of action including:
· Determining the cause of the recession and/or notching and correct the cause.
· Desensitize a sensitive root with a special toothpaste or a protective sealer on the root.
· Filling in the notch.
· Grafting the gum area to strengthen the gum or recover the root.
Grafting beforeGrafting After
Recession can be a serious problem and can lead to tooth loss if not addressed.
We have found that the best course of treatment is to identify the causes and correct them early. Early treatment of an area of recession results in a less invasive procedure and a better outcome.
Gum recession is a form of gum disease, and needs to be treated. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.
We regularly evaluate all patients’ gums for recession as part of our professional hygiene appointments. If you have any questions or concerns about gum recession, please let us know.
We welcome your comments.