Gum Recessions


When gums recede, the root of the tooth becomes exposed. Gum recessions may leave teeth sensitive and vulnerable to gum infection and tooth decay. Eventually it can lead to tooth loss.

What are receding gums?

Receding gums, also known as gingival recessions, refer to the gradual exposure of the tooth’s root due to the loss of gum tissue. This common dental condition can lead to increased tooth sensitivity, an aged appearance, and, if left untreated, potential oral health complications. Understanding the causes and treatments for receding gums are essential for maintaining optimal oral well-being.

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Why do I have receding gums?

Several factors contribute to the development of receding gums, including:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to the accumulation of plaque, which, if not removed, may contribute to gum recession.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to having thinner gum tissues, making them more susceptible to recessions.
  • Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): Consistent teeth grinding or clenching can place excessive force on the gums, leading to recessions over time.
  • Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco can contribute to gum disease, a leading cause of gum recession.
  • Misaligned Teeth: Teeth that are not properly aligned are more prone to develop recessions

What causes gum recession?

  • Periodontal disease – Erodes the jawbone around teeth with subsequent gum recessions
  • Abnormal tooth position – Teeth that stand out are often not protected by jawbone on the outside and are vulnerable to gums receding
  • Hereditary thin, fragile or insufficient gum tissue – Vulnerable to trauma and subsequent gum recessions
  • Overaggressive brushing – Scrubbing that wears away the gum
  • Eating disorders from self-induced vomiting – Acid erosion eating away at teeth and gums
  • Grinding of the teeth (bruxism) – Damages the teeth and supporting jawbone with subsequent gum recessions
  • Piercings in the lip or tongue – Traumatising the gum
  • Orthodontic movement of teeth – Pushing the teeth out of the supporting jawbone

How are gum recessions treated?

Preventing and treating gum recessions involves maintaining good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings. Addressing contributing factors like teeth grinding may involve the use of mouthguards. In more advanced cases, a periodontist (a specialist in the treatment of gum-related issues) may recommend procedures such as gum grafting. This involves taking tissue from another part of the mouth or using donor tissue to cover exposed tooth roots, helping to reduce sensitivity and improve the appearance of the gums.

Treatment for receding gums depends on the severity of the condition. Common approaches include:

  • Scaling and Root Planing: A deep cleaning procedure to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line and smooth the tooth’s root surface.
  • Gum Graft Surgery: In cases of advanced recession, a periodontist may perform a gum graft to cover exposed roots and restore a healthier gumline.
  • Orthodontic Treatment: Straightening misaligned teeth can help distribute biting forces more evenly, reducing the risk of further gum recession.
  • Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene: Consistent brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups are crucial for preventing and managing gum recession.

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Treating receding gums at Surrey Periodontics

Treatment starts by addressing the problem which caused the gum recession i.e. treating gum infection, correcting tooth position, correcting wrong brushing techniques etc.

Gum recessions are then treated by repositioning the gums (“Pulling the gums up”) and/or by doing gum grafts. Gum grafts are done with your own tissue (taking gum from the roof of your mouth) or by using a gum substitute like AlloDerm®.

What are the benefits of treating gum recessions?

Treatment can reduce further recession & bone loss, cover exposed tooth roots (to protect them from decay), reduce tooth sensitivity and improves the appearance of your smile.

Whether you have treatment to improve function or aesthetics, you often receive the benefits of both: improved periodontal health and an improved smile. Both are key to smiling, eating and speaking with comfort and confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fix receding gums?

Yes, in many cases receding gums can be fixed. Once the gum disease has been treated, we are able to perform a gum graft. Please note that some gum recessions are only “fixed” by using restorations like white fillings, crowns, or veneers.

What to do when gums recede?

If you suspect you have receding gums or just want to check on your gum health, the best first step is to book an appointment with your dentist/hygienist or with a specialist periodontist who will be able to advise further.

Can you push receding gums back?

In short, receding gums cannot be “pushed back”. Nor will they grow back naturally. Gum recessions are mostly treated with a gum grafts. This involves removing a bit of gum from the roof of your mouth and transplanting it to the receding area.

At what age do gums start receding?

While age doesn’t cause gums to recede, it does tend to become more common as we get older.

Studies show that between the ages of 30-39, about 40 % of us will have some gum recessions. This incidence will keep increasing with around 70% of individuals having some form of receding gums by ages 50-59, and 90% between ages 80-89.

How do I stop my receding gums from getting worse?

Stopping the progression of receding gums depends on the cause of onset. You will need to arrange a consultation with a periodontist, and they will be able to assess the cause and advise treatment going forward.

If you’re worried about your gum recessions, book a consultation with us today.

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