Gum recession occurs when your gums pull back and shrink in size, exposing more of the tooth surface and tooth root. Gum recession can cause “pockets” and “gaps” to form between the gums and teeth, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up.
The primary culprit behind gum recession is periodontal disease (gum disease) which destroys gum and bone tissue and can lead to tooth loss. While there are many factors that contribute to gum disease, inadequate personal dental care is the most common.
Treatments for receding gums begin at home with proper oral hygiene habits including brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least once. For mild gum recession, your dentist may decide to perform a deep cleaning known as tooth scaling and root planning. During the procedure, plaque on the teeth and beneath the gum line will be removed. The exposed root area will also be smoothed to make it difficult for bacteria to attach itself in the future.
Sometimes, however, severe gum recession may require a surgical procedure performed by your dentist, a periodontist or an oral surgeon.
- Pocket Surgery Reduction. During this procedure, the dentist will clean out the pockets that have formed between your teeth and gums then firmly reattach the gums to the tooth surface.
- Bone Tissue Regeneration. If bone structure has been lost due to gum recession, you may need to have a bone graft or membrane applied to the affected area to encourage bone tissue regeneration.
- Gum Tissue Graft. Similar to a bone graft, your dentist can take tissue from one area of your mouth and use it to replace damaged or missing gum tissue.