Receding gums is a condition in which the gums pull back from your teeth, exposing more of the tooth or the roots of the teeth. This can cause pockets and gaps to form between the teeth and gum line, making it easier for bacteria to collect and cause gum disease and infection. If receding gums are left untreated, the structure of the teeth can be damaged leading to weakened teeth, and possible loss.
What causes receding gums?
Receding gums can occur for a number of reasons:
- Periodontal disease (pyorrhoea) is a bacterial gum infection that damages gum tissue and the bone that supports your teeth. This is the most common cause of receding gums.
- Traumatic and vigorous brushing can cause the enamel on your gums to wear away, and the gums to recede.
- Genetics. 30% of people are more susceptible to gum disease (which can also cause gum boils), no matter how well you care for your teeth.
- Incorrect dental care can be a common cause of receding gums, such as inadequate cleaning can cause a buildup of plaque which can turn into tartar, a hard substance that can cause the gums to recede.
- Trauma (biting objects, piercings, etc.) damage to your teeth or gums can cause your gums to recede.
Symptoms of receding gums
Receding gums can cause hypersensitivity to cold and heat, root cavities, the progressive loss of gum tissue and the bone that supports the tooth and, in some cases, can lead to tooth loss. In the case of frontal teeth it can be an aesthetic problem that worries the patient.
Treatment of receding gums
If the cause of receding gums is pyorrhoea, the patient should have a treatment focused on eliminating bacteria and tartar around the teeth and inside the gums, which is done using surgical instruments (curettes) and/or ultrasonic instruments.
If receding gums are caused by vigorous brushing, the treatment is changing the brushing technique by brushing the teeth gently and in an upward direction, from the gums up to the tooth. If the condition continues to progress despite brushing the teeth correctly, the patient may have periodontal microsurgery procedures to correct the receding gums to get back a smile with a nice and healthy appearance.
The treatment is effective as long as the different causes that cause receding gums are avoided with a good oral hygiene routine, correct non-traumatic brushing and regular dental check-ups.