June 01, 2016

Gum recession

Taking care of your teeth

Gum recession

You pride yourself on how well you take care of your teeth. You brush and floss every day, and you see your dentist for regular cleanings. You haven't had a cavity in years.

But at your last visit, your dentist said that the gum tissue around a couple of your teeth had receded. Sure enough, when the dental hygienist gave you a mirror, you could see what your dentist was talking about. The pink tissue above your eyeteeth (canine teeth) was noticeably higher than that above surrounding teeth.

Gum recession is quite common, especially as you age. It doesn't always need treatment, but there are multiple options for minimizing further gum recession and for reconstructing gum tissue that has receded.

Signs and symptoms

Your dentist may detect gum recession before you do because oftentimes it doesn't really cause any signs or symptoms. However, you may notice:

  • Lengthening of a tooth or several teeth — Some teeth may seem longer than others, leading to an uneven appearance of the gumline.
  • Increased sensitivity — Exposure of the root surface to hot or cold foods or beverages or to cold air can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Discomfort — You might feel an unpleasant sensation when you brush or floss near the exposed root surface.

Multiple causes

What makes gums recede isn't exactly clear. Statistics indicate that gum recession is quite common and becomes more prevalent with age. According to some estimates, about...