What is Gum Recession?

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Gum recession (sometimes known as gingival recession) is a term used to describe a reduction in the tissue of your gums and the root exposure which occurs due to it. Although gum recession can occur in your teens, you are most likely to experience it in later life. Receding gums can affect one or more teeth and the signs should be fairly easy to spot.

Gum recession is a really common problem for adults but the recession itself often goes unnoticed as it proceeds very slowly. You are not likely to notice minimal changes in your gums as you see them every day but over a number of months or years the signs should become increasingly obvious. There are several signs which you can look out for that may indicate gum recession. Firstly, if your teeth seem to be longer than usual or the gaps between them appear larger, this may be a sign of gum recession. Another observable sign is the appearance of the root of the tooth which can often be accompanied by sensitivity or cavities appearing underneath the gum line. Even if you can't see any visible signs, a feeling of sensitivity in your teeth or an alteration to the colour of your teeth may often be an indicator of recession.

Gum recession can also occur as a side effect of gingivitis. This problem is often characterised by inflamed or swollen gums that may bleed as you clean your teeth.

Fortunately, gum recession is highly treatable. The treatment option that is right for you will usually be dependent on the cause of the recession. In most cases, brushing your teeth too hard can contribute to the recession of gums so to counter this, it is often advised that you visit a hygienist who will take you through some softer brushing techniques.

Gum recession may also be caused by a lack of strength in the gum tissues, in which case a form of plastic surgery may be required to create an artificial layer of strong tissue. In many cases, gum recession can occur due to bacterial infection which in turn is caused by a dental plaque build up. In order to prevent this, make sure you maintain a good oral hygiene regime with plenty of flossing and brushing.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »