Receding gums are a relatively common problem in dental clinics, especially in patients of a certain age. These patients come because they notice that the soft tissue that makes up the gums is weakening and has been shrinking, exposing more of the tooth.
In addition to aesthetic problems, this often leads to dental hypersensitivity and, over time, will cause teeth to move or even fall out.
But why does receding gums occur?
A number of factors can lead to gingival recession, but the most common are:
Periodontal disease. As we already know, this disease causes the destruction of the supporting tissues of the teeth (bone, periodontal ligament and gum). In fact, one of the characteristic signs of this pathology and one of the first to be noticed by patients is gum loss.
Inadequate tooth brushing. Dental hygiene with improper technique, excessive force and a hard brush can cause receding gums. Sometimes even brushing your teeth too many times a day can cause it. It is therefore advisable to have your dentist or hygienist supervise your brushing technique and help you develop good hygiene habits. In patients who have already suffered receding gums, we usually recommend the pressure-controlled electric toothbrush to prevent further gum loss.
Orthodontic treatment. When we carry out certain movements and movements of the teeth, bone resorption can occur in some areas and, as a result, recessions can appear in the gum. For this reason, it is very important to correctly plan, study and monitor each case by means of radiographic tests and intraoral scans.
Bruxism. This frequent habit of clenching and grinding the teeth causes wear and tear on the teeth. It can also lead to receding gums.
Braces. If labial braces have a gingival insertion, they can cause gingival recession. In these cases they are removed by frenectomy to prevent recession from increasing. It is usually more frequent on the lower lip.
And what can we do about it?
Gum tissue is incapable of regenerating itself, so once it has been lost we have to resort to treatments to get it back.
However, it is not always necessary to restore it. If the loss of gum has not caused dental hypersensitivity in the patient or affected their aesthetics in a really noticeable way, it is more usual to limit ourselves to keeping it under control and monitoring it during check-ups.
The treatment of choice for receding gums is mucogingival surgery. This involves taking a small amount of tissue from a donor area, usually the palate, and grafting it to the affected area in a fairly simple surgery that will usually cover 100% of the recession.