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Gingival Recession | Symptoms and Treatments

What is Gingival Recession?

Gingival recession occurs when gum tissue is lost or recedes down from the crowning of the teeth, causing the tooth roots to be exposed. It’s also known as receding gums, and usually becomes an issue with adults over 40 but can still affect younger individuals. When it occurs, small pockets form between the teeth and the gum line, which is the ideal environment for disease-causing bacteria to build up.

It’s an issue that progresses over time due to poor oral hygiene, and can cause a multitude of oral issues that can lead to tooth loss and severe damage to the bone tissue and structures if left untreated.

Gingival Recession Symptoms

The recession in the gums from day to day is very minimal, but they can recede a lot over time. Patients may notice the visual look of receding gums and not think anything of it because they become used to how it looks. However, dental professionals can diagnose and treat gingival recession at the very beginning, before any physical symptoms start. Some symptoms include:

  • Loose teeth

  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods

  • Teeth that look longer

  • Exposed tooth roots

  • Changes in the tooth’s color

  • Cavities under the gum line

  • Spaces between teeth appear like they’re growing

  • Puffy, red, or bleeding gums

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we highly encourage you to schedule an appointment with our dental team to determine if you have gingival recession.

Causes of Gingival Recession

There are many different reasons an individual may have gingival recession. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the leading cause. Other less common causes include:

  • Overaggressive brushing and flossing

  • Thin gingivitis tissue due to genetics

  • Using dipping tobacco

  • Lack of vitamin C

  • Abnormal tooth position

  • Tongue or lip piercings that rub up against the gum

Gingival Recession Treatment

Fortunately, there are many solutions to treat gingival recession. Depending on how severe the recession is, your dentist will recommend different treatments. If it’s mild, they may do a deep cleaning with tooth scaling and root planing. With this method, plaque that has built up on the teeth and under the gum line is removed and any root area that’s exposed is smoothed so it’s harder for bacteria to attach. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to ensure any leftover bacteria is killed.

If your gum recession has progressed too far, you may need surgery to fix the issue. Open flap scaling and root planing is one type of surgery where the affected gum tissue is folded back, the bad bacteria is removed, and the gum is put back over the tooth root.

If the bone that supports your teeth was destroyed, then you’ll most likely need a regenerative procedure. In this procedure, the gum tissue will be folded back and the bacteria will be removed. The difference with this procedure is that a regenerative material such as a membrane, graft tissue, or tissue-stimulating protein is then applied to the gum line to get your body to naturally regenerate tissue.

A gum tissue graft is also a common solution, and the most common tissue graft is known as a connective tissue graft. A flap of skin is taken from the roof of the mouth, and tissue from under the flap is stitched to the gum tissue that’s surrounding the exposed root. The flap is then stitched back down. There are other types of tissue grafts that your dentist may recommend based on your needs and your specific situation.

Contact Us Today

If you think you may have gum recession, our team can help diagnose and treat the issue for you. Our dedicated, board-certified dental professionals are experienced in healing gum issues of all kinds. You may not even know you’re suffering from gingival recession, which is why scheduling bi-annual dental cleanings is vital for your health. For Chicago restorative dentistry, give our office a call today.

Eat Better, Smile Brighter.

DENTArt Chicago

At DENTArt Chicago, we combine our extensive training, state-of-the-art techniques, and a patient-centered approach to dentistry to make your visit as comfortable and effective as possible. Our dentists are members of many important dental organizations, including:

  • American College of Prosthodontists
  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • Academy of General Dentistry

Ready to love the look and feel of your smile? Schedule an exam by contacting us online or calling us at (312) 929-4783.

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    *Disclaimer: results are not guaranteed, may not be permanent, and can vary per individual. Some images are of models, not actual patients.