What To Do About Gum Recession As the gum gurus of dentistry, periodontists get a lot of questions from patients about gums. Everyone has heard phrases like periodontal disease, gingivitis, and receding gums, but not everyone is well-informed about what these are, if they have them, and how to treat them. Today, we want to address one of the most common problems we see in our patients: gum recession. Here are the most frequently asked questions we hear about gum recession and our answers. What is gum recession and how do I know If I have it? Gum recession occurs when the gum line begins to recede away from the tooth. People often notice gum recession when their teeth begin to appear larger. Your teeth aren’t growing. Your gums are disappearing. People also tend to notice gum recession when a tooth or several teeth begin to feel sensitive. This is because when the gum pulls back, it exposes the root of the tooth where the tooth’s nerve endings are. What is gum recession and how do I know if I have it? Gum recession occurs when the gum line begins to recede away from the tooth. People often notice gum recession when their teeth begin to appear larger. Your teeth aren’t growing. Your gums are disappearing. People also tend to notice gum recession when a tooth or several teeth begin to feel sensitive. This is because when the gum pulls back, it exposes the root of the tooth where the tooth’s nerve endings are. What causes receding gums? Gum recession can occur under many different circumstances, but these are the most common. Periodontal diseasePeriodontal disease is the leading cause of gum recession. Periodontal disease, which is advanced gum disease, is caused by plaque build-up and bacteria in the mouth that infect and destroy gum tissue. Poor oral care and genetics are among the top causes of periodontal disease. Overbrushing teethWhile brushing your teeth regularly is essential for good oral health, there is such a thing as brushing your teeth too hard or too often. This can cause your gums to push back and recede, leaving the root of your tooth exposed and susceptible to periodontal disease. Thin gumsIf you are genetically predisposed to having thin gums, you are more prone to gum recession. A crooked toothWhen a tooth is ill-positioned—typically if it’s a tooth that is turned toward the face—this can cause gum recession because of the pressure put on the gum tissue around the tooth. OrthodonticsIf you had braces at any point in your life, you could be more susceptible to receding gums. Each year, about 400,000 Americans develop gum disease or gum recession caused by orthodontics. This is for a few reasons. First, having braces makes maintaining oral hygiene difficult, and poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease which can then lead to receding gums. Second, the pressure that braces put on teeth to move them can cause the gums to be inflamed and can cause bone loss—both of which can lead to gum recession. Can my gums grow back? Gum Recession Correction Unfortunately, once gum tissue is lost, it is lost. Your gums can’t grow back, but there is hope. Talk to your periodontist about undergoing a gum graft correction procedure. Dr. Sedler provides an exclusive gum graft recession correction that is a straightforward, outpatient procedure that typically takes 1-2 hours to perform and most patients are back in action the following day. This is an excellent option if you have gum recession. What should I do if I have receding gums? If you notice your gums might be receding in one area or multiple areas, set up an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. She will be able to diagnose the source of your gum recession and may refer you to a periodontist for further treatment or a gum graft procedure. The best way to prevent gum recession is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist for routine cleanings. Gum tissue doesn’t regenerate, so practicing due diligence before your gums start receding is critical. If you do have gum recession, you’re certainly not alone and treatment options are available to you. Talk to your periodontist, and she will help set up a treatment plan that is best for you.