24 Aug

About Gum Recession

Gum recession is a sign of gum disease, the most common cause of premature tooth loss in UK adults. This symptom occurs when the gums become infected. The infection causes the gums to recede, making more of the tooth visible and creating a large gap between the teeth and the gum line.

What causes gum recession?

Gum disease is the most common cause of receding gums. However, there are other risk factors including:

  • Genetic influence
  • Vigorous teeth cleaning
  • Tooth grinding
  • Smoking
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Hormonal changes taking place in the body

Misaligned teeth can contribute to gum recession and tongue or lip piercings can also increase the risk of receding gums.
Gum recession tends to occur gradually and it may take a while for you to notice that your gums are receding. The first sign most people notice is heightened sensitivity, which causes discomfort when you eat or drink something hot or cold. You may also be able to notice visible changes, such as a tooth looking longer than normal.

How is gum disease treated?

In mild cases of gum disease, good oral hygiene can usually relieve symptoms. However, treatment for advanced gum disease is a much longer and more complex process. If you have periodontal disease, you will usually need to see a dentist and a dental hygienist on a regular basis for intensive cleaning treatments and treatments designed to remove tartar and prevent bacteria from collecting in the pockets between the teeth and gums. Examples of treatments include root planing and scale and polish. Surgical treatment can also be carried out to reduce the depth of the pockets.
In cases related to the bite and tooth grinding, other options are available including orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth in the case of misaligned teeth and wearing a bite guard to prevent contact between the teeth.