Can You Fix Receding Gums

When the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth erodes or disengages from the teeth, pulling away and exposing a larger part of the tooth or even the tooth’s root, this is known as gum recession and the condition it characterizes is called receding gums. When people have receding gums, deeper pockets can form between their gums and their teeth as the gums pull away, and these pockets become breeding grounds for accumulation of bacterial plaque; as plaque accumulates, the gums recede more and the pockets deepen further, allowing more bacteria to collect. When this condition is untreated, the gums, surrounding tissues, and jawbone are gradually damaged by this bacterial accumulation, which can lead to tooth loss and loss of additional gum and bone tissue.

While receding gums are a common concern, it can be difficult to detect the issue without periodic dental checkups, since the gums recede gradually and it might not be noticeable to someone who sees their own smile every day. Thankfully, dentists routinely monitor the gums, along with the teeth and the rest of the oral tissues, during regular checkups, so a visit to the dentist can lead to prompt diagnosis and ready treatment. While receding gums won’t grow back, there are treatments that can help halt their recession and restore the oral cavity to health.

When you do notice symptoms of receding gums, these often include the appearance of unnaturally lengthened teeth, exposed tooth roots, or loosened or mobile teeth. Other symptoms might include swollen or discolored gums, gums that feel tender when touched or bleed during brushing and flossing, sensitivity in the teeth, and chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, especially when periodontal disease is at fault. While periodontal disease is a common cause of receding gums, there are other potential causes, including aggressive brushing that damages the gum tissue, hormonal changes that increase inflammation in the gums and contribute to the appearance of recession, tobacco use, problems with the bite, or damage that arises due to chronic clenching or grinding of the teeth. When these external causes contribute to gum recession, they will be addressed with medical or dental treatment and behavioral techniques to slow or stop gum recession and limit the likelihood of recurring problems.

Mild to moderate recession of the gum tissue due to periodontal disease can be treated with a dental deep cleaning in the area of recession. In this process, called a dental root scaling and planing procedure, your dentist removes accumulated plaque and calcified tartar from the surfaces of the teeth below the gums, deep into the root, and these surfaces are smoothed and treated to discourage additional bacterial growth. Topical or oral antibiotics might be used to destroy any infection that remains and restore the health of the oral cavity. After the cause of inflammation is addressed by these methods, the gums often reattach to the teeth and their healthy positioning is restored.

If a root scaling and planning treatment is inadequate in treating the condition, gum surgery may be recommended to replenish and rebuild destroyed tissue and restore the gums. Once the integrity of the gums has been restored, you can help keep them from receding by practicing effective oral hygiene, including gently brushing twice daily and flossing daily, and with regular dental checkups. Your dentist might also recommend gum massages to stimulate their health or a mouthwash or toothpaste specifically formulated to help with receding gum tissue. Maintaining the health of the gums can take work, but with the adoption of effective, healthy habits, receding gums can often be halted in their tracks and the oral health can be restored.

Receding Gums Symptoms