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What Causes Gum Recession? (And What to Do about It!)

Have you noticed that your gum line looks lower than normal, exposing more of your tooth roots and perhaps forming what look to be small pockets? Your teeth may also feel more sensitive to hot or cold foods. This is called gum recession. It is a common condition and can be treated easily by a qualified dental professional. Let’s delve into the specifics of gum recession and how best to treat it.

Causes of Gum Recession

Gum recession may be caused by any of the following factors:

  • Gum disease (leading cause): Bacterial gum infections destroy tissue and the supporting bone that holds the teeth in place.
  • Zealous brushing: Brushing the teeth too hard or the wrong way can harm the tooth enamel and cause the gums to recede. Be consistent but not aggressive with your brushing; use a “soft” toothbrush and be gentle with the teeth.
  • Genetics: If your parents had gum recession, you are more susceptible. Studies show that 30 percent of people may be predisposed to gum disease (despite excellent oral hygiene habits).
  • Abnormal tooth position or spacing: If your teeth don’t properly align, this can increase the risk of gum recession.
  • Hormonal fluctuations: Changes in hormone levels (such as during puberty, pregnancy or menopause) may make gums sensitive and vulnerable to recession.
  • Chronic tooth grinding/clenching: Tooth grinding and clenching puts extra pressure on the teeth, which may cause the gums to recede.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Insufficient brushing/flossing/professional attention can cause periodontitis and gum recession.

Whatever the cause of gum recession, there is a way to treat it and restore the health of the gums.

Gum Recession Treatment

The suggested course of treatment depends on how far your gums have recessed. If they are in the early stages of recession, you may be able to treat the condition with a few simple at-home changes, such as brushing with a softer toothbrush, wearing a mouth guard or flossing more gently.

If your gum recession is moderate to serious in nature (perhaps due to periodontitis), you may need a special deep cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing at your dentist’s office. Scaling and root planing will scrape the tooth roots clean. The dentist may also place antibiotic medication in the pockets created by gum recession.

Severe gum recession may require a soft tissue graft, in which tissue is taken from another area of the mouth and transplanted to the thin area to cover exposed tooth roots. Dr. Ronald Trevisani, a talented oral surgeon in Orlando, can explain tissue grafting in greater detail during a one-on-one consultation.

Contact Dr. Trevisani

If you have noticed your gums pulling away from your teeth and want the opinion of a dental professional, please contact Dr. Trevisani today to schedule an appointment.