Receding gums

Gingival recession (receding gums) is a condition when the gum tissue shrinks
below the tooth crown.  Receding gums expose the roots, a sensitive part of the tooth to oral environment, lead to sensitivity and pain when contact with hot and cold, sweet and sour foods. It may cause tooth loss if left untreated.


Causes of gum recession include:
  1. Improper tooth brushing - either use incorrect technique or medium to hard bristle toothbrush

  2. Aggressive tooth brushing - brush too long and too hard at one area

  3. Clenching or grinding teeth - this habit creates excessive stress on certain tooth results in gum recession

  4. Gum disease - a chronic gum infection from bacteria that leads to bone destruction and gum recession

  5. Irregular frenum attachment (defect)

  6. Misaligned teeth (improper occlusion) caused trauma to the bone and gums

  7. Hereditary; have thin gum tissue or more susceptible to gum disease

  8. Piercing the lips or tongue with jewelry can irritate the gums to the point that the gums begin to recede

  9. Gross overhangs of subgingival restorations that lead to gingivitis and later periodontitis

  10. Over-hanged or opened crown margin, causing food impaction

  11. Excessive cement left at the crown margin

Treatment of gum recession varies depending on types and causes of the recession. Following are some solutions for people who have gum recession:

1. If periodontitis (gum disease) or misaligned teeth are the cause of gum recession, stop further gum receding by:
  • See the dentist preferably a periodontist for gum treatment that includes Removing underlying problems such as plaque, calculus and dead tissue from the pocket through deep cleaning 

  • Correct malocclusion  by Orthodontist

  • Occlusal adjustment 

  • Maintain proper oral hygiene; learn how to brush and floss properly and use a soft toothbrush

  • Brush each area efficiently with minimal time

  • Use water irrigation such as Waterpik to clean around the neck of the tooth and any area that is hard to reach

2. If restorations (crowns, fillings) are the cause, consult a dentist to resolve the problems by either adjusting the restorations or re-do the restoration

3. Wearing mouth guard made by the dentist

4. Consult with a dentist for corrective surgery on frenum

5. Use a soft toothbrush and learn how to brush and floss properly

6. After correct all the causes of gum recession, if there is an excessive bone loss or deep pocket, the patient may require to have surgery.  The  operations used to correct gum recession are:
  • Free gingival graft:
    This method involves surgically remove the outer layer of tissue from your palate and sutures it around the tooth that has gum recession. Once healed the corrected area looks slightly different from the surrounding tissue.  The free gingival graft is the oldest and most studied method of the three but also has the highest amount of discomfort associated with the donor site.

  • Subepithelial connective tissue graft:
    This process involves surgically remove the middle layer of tissue from your palate or another area and sutures it around the tooth that has gum recession. Once healed the corrected area looks identical to the surrounding tissue. The Subepithelial connective tissue graft is the second oldest technique of the three and associated with the moderate discomfort of the donor site
  • Soft tissue allograft:
    This method involves a product made from human tissue instead of the patient’s tissue. Once healed the corrected area looks identical to the surrounding tissue. This is the newest of the three techniques and has no pain because it does not involve the donor.
Note:
For sensitive teeth caused by roots exposure, use toothpaste that were made for sensitive teeth such as Sensodyne Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth.