There are many causes of gum recession. If the recession is very slow, it is always difficult to identify gradual erosion. Gum recession is most common in people over the age of 40. However the ailment begins to develop from the moment we are born. Without any noticeable symptoms, the problem unfolds extremely slowly, over many years and usually without any pain, especially in the early stages. It is unlikely that the patient will notice any changes themselves but over a number of years these gradual changes become obvious.
Enlarged gaps between the teeth, or teeth appearing to be longer than usual could be signs of gum recession. Another sign could be the appearance of the root of the tooth, this is usually accompanied by sensitivity or cavities appearing underneath the gum line. A change in the colour of the teeth can also be a sign of gum recession. If there aren’t any of these visible signs, a feeling of sensitivity might be an indicator of the disease.
There are usually three reasons for receding gums, brushing the teeth too hard, bacteria, or orthodontic treatment. In many cases people just want to make their teeth as clean as possible, but brushing too hard is not the right way. It is very important to clean teeth in the right way so as to ensure that the gums are not damaged. The choice of toothbrush is also important.
Bacterial infection is a different type of recession and doesn’t only involve the gums receding but also the destruction of the underlying bone which supports the teeth. Orthodontic treatment can also be a cause whereby treatment that involves moving the teeth into a better position can result in the root of the tooth becoming more prominent. When the tops of the teeth have to be straightened in order to refine the bite and smile, the roots of the teeth then can be pushed in the other direction and appear more visible above the gum line.
Fortunately gum recession is highly treatable. Surgery is only one solution in treating the type of gum recession that is caused by gum disease or by orthodontic treatment. Gingival grafting is a treatment that involves grafts from neighbouring gums or the roof of the mouth onto the affected areas. This surgical procedure tends to be performed by a Periodontist and is done under local anaesthetic. The treated gums will usually heal within a month. Additional shaping is sometimes carried out in order to make sure the gum looks as natural as possible.
The best prevention a patient can undertake for gum recession is to visit the dentist regularly. Any problems they may suffer can then be identified early and are then much more easily treated.