Receding gums occur when roots of the teeth are exposed by a loss of gum tissue and supporting bone. Teeth may feel sensitive or just look larger. Causes could include gum disease, aggressive tooth brushing, lack of dental care or genetics.
Depending on the severity of the problem, the solution involves either implementing a new dental hygiene regimen, or if surgery is required, gum grafting.
Gums hold in place and protect the teeth
Gum recession is the process of gradual erosion or retreat of the gum that surrounds the tooth, gradually exposing more of the tooth and in extreme cases gum recedes to the point that the tooth will fall out.
As a result of gum recession, the teeth may feel more sensitive or simply look larger. But since the gums support and protect the teeth, the problem is more severe than it may appear.
The causes of gum recession
The causes of gum recession (or gingival recession) can be many: periodontal disease, bruxism, aggressive brushing, lip or tongue piercings, eating disorders, genetics or tooth crowding. Most commonly it is a result of poor dental hygiene or gum disease. Sometimes the gums can be weakened or stretched by the wearing of braces, and the gum will then be more susceptible to gum damage or recession.
Our preference is always for the least invasive and best long term solution, so wherever possible we will aim to prevent the cause of the gum recession and implement a new dental hygiene plan. But in the case of damage to the supporting bone a gum graft may be necessary.
Can gums grow back?
If the cause of the gum recession is gum disease, then there is likely damage to the supporting bone, in which case the gum will not grow back. If the recession is a result of aggressive brushing, then the healthy supporting bone and tissue will allow the gum to grow back.
Gum grafting involves taking healthy tissue from the roof of the mouth and transplanting over the damaged gum tissue. The procedure has a very high success rate and a recovery time of about 2 months, for both the gum and the donor tissue to be back to normal.