Receding gums are also known as gingival recession. The pink gum tissue normally covers the root of the tooth. This can become exposed when the gum is pushed back or if the tooth is in an abnormal position.Receding gums are common and often unnoticed at an early stage. There are many risk factors, but getting older is the main one. The major concern with receding gums is that when the roots of the teeth become exposed, they are at risk of decay, infection, and loss.
Why do gums recede?
Poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease are linked to gingival recession. But receding gums can happen in people with good standards of oral hygiene too. Some people are more prone to receding gums because of tooth position and gum thickness.
Treatment for receding gums
Dentists may simply give advice about prevention and offer to monitor the gums. Teaching people how to brush gently but effectively is a good early intervention. For people who do need treatment, a number of options are available:
- desensitising agents, varnishes, and dentine bonding agents;
- composite restoration – tooth-coloured composite resins are used to cover the root surface;
- pink porcelain or composite – this is the same pink colour as the gums;
- removable gingival veneers made from acrylic or silicone;
- orthodontics – treatments designed to move the position of teeth can correct the gum margin; and,
- surgery – tissue is grafted from elsewhere in the mouth and heals over the gum recession.