Receding Gums – Treating the Problem

What is gum recession?

Gum recession or gingival recession is where your gums recede and expose some of the root of your teeth. When this happens you can see the joint between the enamel on the crown of the tooth, and the yellower root surface underneath.

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Why choose Dr Workman to look after you?

Not only is Dr Workman a very good dentist, he has genuine caring nature and always makes sure you feel truly looked after. This is why he has such a loyal following of, families, young professionals right through to our older generation. With over 12 years experience, he is young, passionate, great at what he does and has an excellent aesthetic eye. If you would like a dental professional you can really trust,  who places your health, happiness and comfort as an absolute priority, then you would be hard pushed to look any further. If you have typed ‘dentist near me’ then our state of the art Maroubra dental practice won’t be far away.

Why have my gums receded?

There are a couple of reasons why this might have happened:

Toothbrush Abrasion– this comes from brushing too hard, too long, with the wrong technique or an inappropriate brush.

We see it all day everyday and it’s easy to prevent, but once it has occurred it’s there to stay- the gums are not going to grow back on their own.

Generally this is seen on your premolars and first molar and just affects the outside surface facing the cheek. You often see a classic notch beginning to appear since the root is a lot softer and wears more quickly than the enamel of the crown

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Periodontal Disease– This is where the bone level that holds your teeth in shrinks and over time the gum follows this down to exposing the root. This can affect all your teeth or be more isolated and generally involves the gums receding all the way around the tooth including in between the teeth which causes dark gaps to open up that can be a cosmetic problem.

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If you have had an extraction and not filled the space with an implant that helps to preserve the bone level, the bone and gum overlying can shrink down. This is more likely if you have had a surgical extraction and occurs on the surfaces of the teeth adjacent to the space.

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What can I do about my gum recession?

Treating your gum recession depends as always on the cause.

Recession caused by toothbrush abrasion develops over a long period of time, so if caught early, simply learning how to brush correctly and avoid it from worsening may be all that is needed.

Another reason for regular visits!

Sadly despite all the best advice in the world a lot of patients find it hard to modify their habits and continue to associate brushing hard with cleaner teeth – this is simply just not the case!

Toothbrush abrasion can result from one or more of the following so modifying each element will help to protect you from worsening the situation:

– Brushing too hard- grip the brush very lightly in your fingers, don’t hold it and make a fist, this will naturally cause you to exert less pressure.
– Brushing too long- twice a day for 2 minutes is the right amount. Brushing anymore that this is simply not necessary and you are likely to be doing more damage than good
– Brushing with the wrong toothbrush- a soft- medium toothbrush is ideal for most people. “I am sometimes surprised at how hard even medium toothbrushes are. If it feels firm to the touch and the bristles don’t really move when pressed then it could be too hard.” (Dr Jamie)
– Brushing with the wrong technique- long horizontal scrubbing and brushing very fast are much more likely to result in issues. Small gentle circles and vibrations- then flicking away from the gum is the way to go.

  • Note. Electric toothbrushes can be great but just be careful to only hold them on each surface for 1-2 seconds and hold don’t brush with the toothbrush. Any longer and you may find you begin to wear your gums

If the notches are already well established, worsening, or present an aesthetic problem, are trapping food and plaque or causing sensitivity (very common), then some treatment will be indicated.

Sometimes managing the sensitivity will be sufficient; other times bonding in a small protective white filling will be needed. Unfortunately gums are not going to grow back unless periodontal (gum) surgery takes place but this is a potential option in more extreme cases.

If you have just had treatment for periodontal disease, recession is inevitable and can indicate a period of healing. As long as the gum pocket depth is within normal limits and you can keep this clean effectively at home –at this point the recession is a good thing – it can often present after treatment as the inflammation in your gums subsides.

The most important thing for receding gums is the your ability to keep them clean.

Perhaps cosmetic treatment could help reshape and fill some of the spaces – if they are a problem to you – but this needs to be done with caution and not at the expense of cleaning.

Summary Box:

Treatments Fluoride treatment | White fillings | Gum surgery | Oral hygiene instruction
Cost See treatment page for details

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