• April 12, 2022
causes and treatments for gum recession

Receding gums is a common dental problem, more common than most people think.  According to the CDC, between 45% and 70% of American adults suffer from gum recession.  If left unchecked, receding gums can lead to more serious dental problems, including tooth loss.

Are your teeth are feeling more sensitive than normal, or do you think they look longer than usual? If so, you may be experiencing gum recession. By scheduling a visit with your dentist right away, your teeth can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.


There are several possible causes for receding gums, which may result in different treatment plans from your dental provider.

Potential Causes

  • Bad Oral Hygiene. It should come as no surprise, but if you do not have good hygiene practices you increase your risk of a variety of dental problems.  Plaque and bacteria buildup around your gums can lead to recession.
  • Genetics. Sometimes you are doing everything right with your hygiene practices, but you are still facing issues with your gums.  This simply may be the result of your genetics predisposing you to receding gums.
  • Age. It’s just a fact of Life, as we get older, our bodies can breakdown.  We may not be able to retain the material integrity of you bones, including our teeth.  As we age, it becomes even more important to maintain good oral health!
  • Bad Diet, Tabacco, or Drug Usage. If you consume large amounts of sugars and acidic foods, Tabacco, or even some drugs, you may be damaging your teeth and gums.  
  • Pre-existing Dental Conditions. Conditions like under, over, or misaligned bites or grinding your teeth can damage your teeth and gums by applying undue force or pressure.
  • Harsh Brushing. Good oral hygiene practices are great, but if you use the wrong brush or are too aggressive on your gums, you may be counterproductive and actually damage you gumline.
  • Piercings. If you have a lip or tongue ring, you map damage your teeth and gums by the consistent rubbing against the foreign object.
  • Hormones. As your hormones change, you may find that they can impact your oral health as well.
  • Medications. Some medications can have side effects like dry mouth which can negatively impact your oral health.  It is important to work with both your dentist as well as your doctor if you find that any of your medications lead to gum recession.

Treatment for Gum Recession

The best treatment for anything is prevention, and that is no different for receding gums.  You should make sure you are practicing good oral hygiene daily, visiting your dentist regularly, and avoiding things that will increase your risks.  For issues like tooth alignment, you may need to see an orthodontist to correct your alignment.  If you are grinding your teeth, your dentist may recommend and make you a custom mouth guard.  You may also be prescribed specific treatment tools, like a special toothpaste, mouthwash, or tools like a water-pick.

If you are past the point of prevention, or unable to prevent gum recession, you will need to seek treatment.  Your dentist will do what they can to avoid surgical procedures, but in severe cases, that may be your only option.  To start, your dentist can perform deep cleaning and may recommend a cleaning schedule that is more regular than the normal twice a year routine.  Their goal is to address plaque buildup and avoid bone loss.

Surgical Treatment

It may get to the point that surgery is required.  Surgical options include:

  • Open Flap Scaling. Open up the gumline to scale and remove plaque and bacteria from the roots of your teeth. Once complete the gums will be reattached to the teeth.
  • Soft Tissue Graft. Like skin grafts, a soft tissue graft takes healthy tissue from another section of you mouth and moves it to repair the damaged area to replace the lost gums.
  • Regeneration. A treatment that is meant to help regrow your damaged roots by surgically implanting regenerative materials under the gums.  

We Are Here For You

If you are looking for a trusted dentist in the Joliet area, we are here for you.  At Shorewood Family Dental Care, we are here to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.  Call today to schedule an appointment with our Joliet family dentists, We look forward to seeing you!