Receding Gums: What You Should Know

A woman is outside on a sunny day laughing widelyGum recession is a relatively common problem that many adults experience to some degree. This condition occurs when the gums start to pull away from the surface of a tooth or teeth. Usually, we notice recession around one or more teeth, but not all at the same time, unless in the case of severe gum disease. When the gums recede, more of the root surface of a tooth may be exposed. The pockets that form where gum tissue is weak and pulling away can harbor bacteria and present a direct concern for infection near teeth roots and the jaw bone. Here, we discuss a few things you should know about receding gums so you can protect your smile.

Why Would I Experience Receding Gums?

According to the American Dental Association, three out of four adults have some degree of periodontal disease. Receding gums is one indication of this condition. Periodontal disease is what comes after gingivitis if that minor inflammation is not treated. Both inflammation and infection begin originate from an accumulation of plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums. Plaque that is not removed can harden to tartar, calcification in which bacteria get stuck. In addition to this progression of infection, gum recession may be caused or worsened by factors such as:

  • Brushing teeth with too much force
  • Smoking
  • Drinking soda frequently
  • Hormone changes (pregnant women have a higher risk of gingivitis and gum disease)
  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Dry mouth

Signs of Gum Recession

You might realize that you have some extent of gum recession if you notice

  • Your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or floss
  • Your gums appear inflamed
  • You have persistent bad breath
  • Your gums hurt when you eat or brush your teeth
  • One or more teeth look longer

Gum Recession is Treatable

If you see the signs of gum recession, it is wise to schedule a visit with your dentist right away. Gum recession typically does not go away on its own. Your dentist can perform a deep cleaning that removes plaque and bacteria from vulnerable places in the mouth. The deep cleaning invites the gum tissue to reattach to teeth so bacteria cannot infiltrate the area again. In some cases, a topical or oral antibiotic may be needed to help reduce infection. In more severe cases of recession, a minor procedure may be needed to help regenerate or secure gum tissue where needed.

Dr. Louis Siegelman is a board-certified dental anesthesiologist who provides a wide range of sedation dentistry services. We understand that there are many factors that may prevent a person from tolerating dental visits, and we are here to change that, one patient at a time. To learn more about our periodontal and dental services, including sedation, contact our NYC office at (212) 974-8737.

Get in Touch

* All indicated fields must be completed.
Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.

Office Hours

Monday to Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Accessibility Toolbar