Gum Recession

Overview

Gum (gingival) recession is the process of the gum tissue at the edges, where the teeth emerge, wearing away, and pulling back to expose more of the teeth and their roots. It’s a slow process, and may not be noticeable to someone with the condition. It’s seen in most people aged 65 and older, and 50 percent of people 18 to 64. It’s important to diagnose and treat, because the process can lead to decay and deterioration of the teeth and supporting structures, and eventually to tooth loss.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The first symptoms of gum recession may be hypersensitivity to very cold or very hot temperatures and touch. Dental caries occur readily at the roots of teeth, which have a softer surface and decay more readily than the enamel on the crowns. Patient complaints are usually associated with cosmetic concerns.

Causes

Periodontal disease, which is a bacterial infection of the gums, is a common cause of gum recession. Other causes of recession are improper or no flossing, aggressive brushing – too hard or incorrectly with damage to the enamel, or inadequate brushing. Crooked teeth can lead to recession; orthodontic treatment may be necessary to improve the condition. About 30 percent of the population seem to have a genetic predistribution to gum recession, the gums are thin and fragile, and may get disease even with good care. Hormone fluctuations, tobacco use, and grinding the teeth lead to gum recession. Body jewelry, piercing the tongue, or the lips with metal rubbing against the gums can cause gum recession. If the condition is ignored the gums continue to recede and bone loss may occur. Continue reading for Prevention and Treatment Information . . .

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