Once your gum tissue recedes and exposes the roots of your teeth, it will not grow back. You can prevent them from receding more by seeing your dentist regularly and practicing good oral hygiene. Without treatment, your gums will continue to recede, and you will require a type of surgery called gum grafting.
If you notice your teeth look longer than they used to, or you have visual evidence of your gums pulling away from your teeth, it’s time to see the dentist about receding gums. Healthy gums appear pink and the gum line is consistent around the edges of teeth. Receding gums look inflamed and irregular. Teeth can become sensitive to heat and cold.
Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum recession. So can brushing with a hard toothbrush or brushing aggressively. Pushing plaque off of teeth doesn’t take much effort, just proper technique.
If your teeth are poorly aligned, the abnormal joining of your teeth can cause pockets in your gums to get infected and lead to receding gums. Constant pressure on gums from grinding teeth can cause gums to recede, as can a traumatic injury to your teeth. Your risk is also higher if one or both of your parents had receding gums.
There are steps you can take to effectively treat receding gums, depending on the severity of the problem. Brush and floss as directed and visit your dentist regularly to diagnose and manage any problems early.
If your dentist catches gum recession early, you may be able to address the issue at home. Your dentist will identify the cause and help you implement solutions like a mouth guard for teeth grinding or a new toothbrush for aggressive brushers.
If your gum recession has progressed, your dentist may recommend you visit a periodontist for an evaluation. A periodontist is a gum specialist who will diagnose the cause of your gum recession and then make a plan of action to address it. You’ll likely be directed to purchase a new toothbrush, and will receive special toothbrushing instruction. Periodontists often prescribe a special cleaning called a “scaling and root planing.” Follow all directions carefully to recover from the procedure and keep your gums healthy.
The periodontist and dentist will continue to work together to manage the progression of your gum disease and avoid further procedures. If your gums continue to recede, the periodontist may prescribe gum graft surgery as the only alternative treatment available.
Your teeth are a window to the health status of the rest of your body. Your dentist is a valuable partner in keeping you healthy and is often the first medical professional to diagnose health issues from treating your teeth. Taking care of your oral health is very important.