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What Is Gum Recession And What Causes It?

What Is Gum Recession?

Gum recession is a form of gum disease that happens when your gums start to pull away from your tooth, exposing the roots underneath. This also makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities as well as making them more sensitive when brushing and eating.

Who Does Gum Recession Affect?

Gum recession can affect people of all ages but it is most common in people over 65. There are some risk factors that will make it more likely that you will develop recession:

  • If you have periodontal disease.
  • If you had braces or other orthodontic treatment.
  • If you use chewing tobacco.
  • If you have a lip or tongue piercing.
  • If you brush your teeth aggressively.

Symptoms Of Gum Recession

The most obvious sign is the exposure of tooth roots but there are other warning signs:

  • Pain or discomfort near your gum line.
  • Sensitivity to heat, cold and sweets.
  • Sensitivity when brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Sensitivity during dental cleanings.

If left untreated, gum recession can lead to other serious oral health problems such as bone loss or tooth loss. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned, you should book an appointment with your dentist.

What Causes Recession?

There are a number of reasons that your gums may recede:

  • Brushing too hard or aggressively.
  • Dental plaque or build up of tartar.
  • Periodontal disease.
  • Trauma or injury to the gum tissue.
  • Abnormal tooth positioning.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Lip and tongue piercings.

A lot of the time, poor oral hygiene contributes to gum recession but it isn’t always the case. Some people have a genetic predisposition to recession.

How Is Gum Recession Diagnosed?

Your dentist will be able to diagnose gum recession during a routine check-up appointment. They will use a periodontal probe to measure the amount of gum recession on each tooth.

Management And Treatment

Unfortunately, gums can’t grow back, but there are things you can do to stop it from worsening. Mild cases of recession can be treated with nonsurgical treatments such as topical antibiotics, dental bonding or orthodontics.

During gum recession surgery, a gum graft is used to replace your missing gum tissue. The graft would usually be taken from the roof of your mouth but can occasionally come from sterilised human donor tissue.

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