Understanding Gum Recession

Gingival recession, often referred to as receding gums, is when gum tissue surrounding the teeth begins to recede or pull away from your teeth, exposing the fragile roots. This makes them more vulnerable to decay, infection, and tooth loss. Gum recession is a common condition that’s  most often seen in adults over the age of 40, but it can begin as early as the teenage years.

Most people don’t even notice they’re being affected by gum recession as it progresses slowly and often without obvious symptoms. The first sign is typically sensitivity or the tooth begins to appear longer.

If this condition is left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures can be severely damaged and this may eventually result in tooth loss. It’s important to understand the causes of gum recession. Regular dental check-ups will help prevent receding gums and your dentist can also help assess the risk factors.


The following symptoms may be signs of gum recession:

  • Tooth sensitivity Cementum is the surface layer that protects the tooth root. When it’s exposed, teeth become sensitive to cold and heat.
  • Visible rootsThis is the most prominent sign of severe gum recession.
  • Changing appearance Individuals suffering with gingival recession usually notice their teeth appearing longer and the space between their teeth expanding due to the loss of gum tissue.
  • Bad breath, inflammation, and bleeding gums These are common symptoms of gum disease. If not treated, this bacterial infection will cause the gums to recede from the teeth and it may result in tooth loss.

Causes of Gum Recession

Gum recession is a common condition that’s regularly  diagnosed and treated by Dr. Rodda. He’ll examine the affected areas to make an accurate diagnosis. Fortunately, we offer effective treatments for gum recession at Oasis Dental in Flagstaff. 

We feature surgical and non-surgical procedures depending on the extent of the damage. These measures are designed to treat recession and prevent it from recurring. 

The most common causes of gingival recession are:

  • Aggressive brushing Brushing your teeth too hard, using a hard-bristled brush, and over-brushing can be damaging. It can erode the tooth enamel and irritate or inflame the gum tissue.
  • Poor oral hygiene Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash help prevent plaque build-up. This is important because plaque contains bacteria that cause infection.
  • Tobacco use Smoking and using tobacco products irritate the gingival lining of the mouth, increasing the patient’s risk for receding gums.
  • Periodontitis Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease, a serious infection that causes inflammation, damaging gum and bone tissue. It can ultimately result in tooth loss if left untreated. Gum disease can be prevented through daily oral care and by visiting Dr. Rodda for regular checkups.
  • Genetics – Some people may be more susceptible to gum recession due to genetics. Plaque and inflamed gums are more likely for patients with delicate gum tissue.

Treatment of Gum Recession

Each instance of gum recession is different, Dr. Rodda will identify the causes and find the treatment strategy that’s right for you. Professional treatment, at-home oral care, and regular dental visits will help prevent recession and periodontitis.

If aggressive brushing is causing the gums to erode, a soft-bristled brush and a gentler brushing technique can help. It won’t repair existing abrasion, but it may prevent additional damage. 

When  poor oral hygiene is a factor in recession, a professional dental cleaning is advised to clear debris and bacteria from the gum pockets. To prevent severe tartar build-up, Dr. Rodda may recommend scaling and root planing to allow the tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth.

To fight gingival recession, a regenerative treatment such as gum grafting may be recommended . This procedure involves removing the damaged tissue  and replacing it with donor tissue. Gum grafting restores healthy gum tissue so your smile can look its best.

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