Receding Gums Causes, Appearance, Treatment and Prevention

The word receding actually means moving away from its normal position. So here we are talking about the receding gums.

What are Receding Gums

receding gums

In medical terms, the condition in which the marginal gingiva ie, the part of gums surrounding the neck of the tooth, move away from its normal position and exposing the root part of the tooth is called the gingival recession. But in general, it is called receding gums.

Due to the recession of gums, the root part is exposed to the oral environment which makes the tooth vulnerable to the sensitivity. This is very uneasy and might be a painful experience, so you must have knowledge about the gum recession and how can you prevent it.

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What do Receding Gums Look Like

Now, the most important question is how to know that the gums are receding? As it is very important to know what are the signs to look for so that you can judge something is not right and to prevent it at the earliest stage from getting worse.

Signs and Appearance of Gum Recession

Sign and symptoms of gingival recession

  • Bleeding from gums while brushing
  • Swelling and redness of gums
  • Bad breath or malodor
  • Increase in tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth starts appearing elongated
  • Loosening of teeth

Now as you know about the appearance and signs to be taken care of to judge your condition, then you might be wondering why do gums start receding? so let us know about the major causes of the recession.

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What Causes Receding Gums

causes of gum recession

Lack of Dental Care

Reason for gingival recession can be faulty brushing technique (putting insufficient pressure while brushing) or using an excessively soft brush or maybe the decreased brushing time, that is responsible for the plaque accumulation, which will further progress into the receding gums and then loosening of teeth.

More Aggressive Brushing Technique

As we said earlier, that insufficient pressure application while brushing can retain the food debris, similarly excessive pressure also causes damage to the tooth as well as the gums which will lead to the gum recession.

Gum Disease

As we have discussed earlier that the periodontal or gingival or gum disease is the major cause for the recession of the gums because mostly recession is a result or indication of the underlying cause.

Changes in Hormone System

In a woman’s life, there are different phases like puberty, pregnancy, menopause, due to this, the hormone levels are fluctuated, which can also cause gums recession.

Several Medications

Several medications cause dry mouth (like antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, antidepressants, sedatives, Parkinson’s disease medicine, antacids etc) hence the gingival health is affected.

Habits

People with the habit of using tobacco are more vulnerable to the gum related issues, as the tobacco causes sticky plaque over tooth which increases the risk of recession.

Tobacco– It actually causes a decrease in the blood supply of the gums which make it more vulnerable to several infections and disease.

Bruxism– It is the habit of grinding and clenching of teeth, this habit increases pressure over the gingival tissue and causes damage to the teeth and gums. This grinding and clenching of teeth can be due to increased stress or anger, this could also be due to several mental disorders.

But wait, What’s the solution for all these problems? What if the gums have already been receded or anybody might not have noticed about the reasons earlier. Is it too late now?

Relax, every problem has a solution and in this case, you have many. Let us get to know.

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What to Do about Receding Gums

First of all, just let your dentist examine the condition and figure out at which stage your recession is and then he will explain the treatment planning. The treatment can be according to the exact condition of the gingiva, there are possibilities that if the recession is at its earlier stage then the simple conservative treatments can help, but with the increase in progression of the gingival recession, the treatment plan becomes more invasive. So it’s better to have an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

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What can Dentists do about the Receding Gums

There are several options for the Treatment of the Receding gums, which can cure or repair the receded gum condition.

scaling for gum recession

  • If the gum recession is mild then your dentist will just have to clean up the plaque attached over the teeth surface by the methods of scaling and root planing. It will clean up the plaque which consists of the bacteria which are harmful to your gums.
  • But if the recession is deep enough then gum surgery (flap surgery) may be indicated.

These surgeries are done by periodontists, those are specialized for handling the cases related to the gingival disease and the disease relating to the supporting structure of the tooth.

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What can Periodontist do for Receded Gums

periodontitis for gum recession

  • Periodontists are contacted for severe cases related to the gums and the structure supporting the tooth such as alveolar bone (bone surrounding tooth).
  • They can perform surgical invasion into the gingival tissue and remove the deep cause of the gingival disease.
  • The surgery is performed under local anesthesia.
  • After surgery, the gingival tissues are taken back to its normal positions, and you might have to take precaution for a couple of days such as to have soft food and food which is not irritating to the gums.
  • Also, there would be several postoperative visits for seeing the progress of the treatment.
  • So the patient must follow all the steps sincerely for better and longtime results.
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Do I Really need Surgery

Most of you might be thinking this or thinking that Can’t we fix receded gums without surgery?

flap surgery for gum recession

The first approach of your dentist is always a conservative treatment (ie, scaling and root planning). But if your gum recession has been progressed to such an extent that it can not be resolved by the conservative approach, then for sure you must go for surgeries as soon as recommended by your dentist because the delay in treatment can also make your tooth non-restorable and then it must be extracted.

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How to Prevent Receding Gums

It is rightly said that the prevention is better than cure, so to guide you to prevent the condition, we have some tips

  • brush and floss twice a day
  • Decrease sugar content in your diet
  • Decrease beverages consist of high sugar and soda content
  • Rinse mouth thoroughly after every meal
  • Visit your dentist twice a year
  • Avoid tobacco at all cost

Habits like bruxism can be cured by some appliances and decreasing stress levels.

What is the Best Toothbrush for Preventing Recession

Best toothbrush for gum recession

There are a variety of toothbrushes present like extra soft bristles, soft bristles, medium bristles, coarse bristles, but mostly a medium type bristles are recommended so that the cleaning of the teeth could be properly done. But also it is important that you must not put excessive pressure over the gums otherwise it will cause harmful effect over gums. But nowadays, instead of manual brushing, people are shifting towards the ultrasonic brushes. These are having several speed controllers and are more comfortable, but are obviously much expensive than normal brushes.

Above were the steps to prevent the occurrence of the gum recession but if the condition already has occurred then what to do for stopping the further damage immediately.

There could be Natural remedies which can be done as home remedies to prevent the condition from becoming worse.

  • Warm water rinse with salt relieves swelling
  • Green tea improves oral health
  • Peppermint essential oil prevents bacterial growth
  • Aloe vera relieves inflammation
  • Eucalyptus oil is anti-inflammatory, germicide

But of course they are temporary solutions and if gum related problems are ignored for long then can worsen the condition. So visit your dentist as soon as possible.

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How much does it Cost to Fix Receded Gums

Scaling

In India ultrasonic scaling cost range from Rs.500-1500. And if root planning is also done then it can cost up to Rs.2000, however it varies accordingly. As in government institutions, it is much cheaper (Rs.50-200) but mostly hand scaling is available which takes more time and visits. But it is mostly ultrasonic scaling preferred in private clinics which is much faster and also needs fewer appointments.

Surgery

Surgeries are advanced treatments and require much more time and effort than simple scaling, also the number of appointments are much more and also follow up is must, hence the cost of flap surgery is higher than normal scaling ie (Rs.2500-5500). But here also if one prefer to get it done from medical institutes then it is much less. These differences occur because some medical institutes are sponsored by the government and also surgeries in these institutes are observed by the students and are helpful in a medical study. Some patients are not willing to disclose their problems or might not feel comfortable in medical institutes and hence prefer private clinics. Whatever the choices might be, the most important thing is to have regular dental check-ups twice a year so that you can avoid the major issues related to oral health.

Hence with this, the topic concludes just be more aware of yourself, be mindful of the indications given by your body and invest in your health first it is the most important thing. If you still have any doubt or queries, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

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