Recession of gums

What is gingival recession?

Gum recession occurs when your root surfaces are exposed as a result of apical migration of your gum position. The pattern of distribution of your gum recession, whether is localized (affect one or two teeth) or generalized (most teeth) is determined by the etiological factor of gum recession.  Studies have shown that gum recession of at least 1mm is present in more than 50 percent of the human population.Here are some common causes of gum recession:

1)      Excessive trauma to your gum tissues can cause gum recession

(i)                 Tooth brushing trauma is one of the most common factors of gum recession.  For your information, vigorous tooth brushing, usage of wrong tooth brushing technique and hard toothbrush can cause trauma to your gum tissues and causes gum recession.

(ii)               Partial dentures

Badly designed dentures can traumatize your gum tissues and causes gum recession,      especially in your lingual and interproximal surface  of your teeth. However, the most important way to prevent gum recession is to take good care of your denture hygiene.

Please click here to read more about denture care.

(iii)             Malocclusion

The way u occlude your teeth can causes recession of your teeth. This normally affects the outer/buccal surface of your lower anteriors. If you suspect any of your opposing tooth is impinging your gums please consult a dental practitioner before gum recession takes place.

(iv)               Trauma from lip and tongue piercing tends to affect the gums of your anterior teeth

(v)                Habits such as picking your gums (with fingernails) can also result in gum recession.

2) Plaque accumulation

Plaque accumulation due to placement of the margins of crowns subgingivally, overhanging restorations, high frenal attachment can result in gum recession and bone loss.

Gum recession can cause

1)      Sensitivity while drinking cold water.

2)      Root caries can develop around the exposed roots.

3)      Affects your aesthetics. Your teeth may look longer than normal.

What will your dental practitioner do to manage your gum recession?

1 ) Prevention of further gum recession by removing all the plaque retentive factors (such as trimming any overhanging fillings).

As a patient, you can also prevent further recession by:

-          Taking care of your oral hygiene

-          Brush your teeth using a correct method

-           ALWAYS use a soft bristled tooth brush



2)      Reduce sensitivity by applying dental products such as fluoride varnish to your exposed roots. (as a result of gum recession)


3)      Coverage of your exposed roots by the means of

(i)                  Surgery or placement of graft. However, surgery is contraindicated:

-          If you smoke

-          If your oral hygiene is poor

(ii)                Besides surgery, a newly introduced dental material, gingival composite can be used to correct minimal gingival recession. Various shades are available to match your gum color. It is minimally invasive and less costly compared to other surgical procedures.

(iii)                Gingival veneers are used when there is severe loss of gum tissues. Gingival veneers are very esthetic but they are less flexible and prone to fracture.