What Causes Gingival Recession?
Gum recession is common in people of all ages and is the result of your teeth losing part of their bony foundation. Since bone is essentially a scaffold that holds the gums in place, this absence of bone can lead to gum recession. Also, there are two types of gum tissue, one strong and one weak.
Recession is more likely in the absence of strong gum tissue called attached gingiva (gingiva means “gum”). This type has fibers that form a strong attachment to the tooth and underlying bone. The weak type lacks that attachment strength and is more prone to recession.
When you have both bone loss and the weak gum type, recession is often simply the result of normal, daily activities such as tooth brushing and eating. The use of a medium or hard bristle manual brush with abrasive toothpaste and mechanical toothbrushes can speed up the recession in areas of the weak gum type.
Gingival Recession Treatment
Some cases of gum recession are self-limiting, but many are not. For example, recession that results from overzealous brushing or the use of abrasive, whitening toothpaste can be stopped with a change in cleaning habits such as the use of a soft bristle brush and toothpaste lower in whitening additives. Some gums continue to recede in spite of those behavior changes, which is where therapy to increase the quantity of strong gingiva comes in. This usually involves the grafting of gum tissue from one part of the mouth to a site in which gum recession has occurred.
When should I check into repairing areas of gum recession?
- If the recession continues to progress.
- If the area is of esthetic concern (appearance).
- If the root of the tooth is sensitive to hot or cold fluids.
- If orthodontic therapy (braces) will move the affected teeth into prominence.
- If restorations (fillings, caps, etc.) touch or go below the gum in an area of recession.