Receding gums are common in adults over the age of 40, and many people think are just a sign of agings but are caused by numerous factors, many of which are preventable.
Common causes include:
- Gum disease
- Overaggressive brushing
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol consumption
- Oral piercings
- Crooked teeth or a bad bite
These factors are all interconnected, and often people with a genetic vulnerability to receding gums suffer more serious effects related to all the other causes. It’s important to understand your personal risk so that you know to avoid high-risk behaviors.
Once you develop receding gums, you suffer a number of negative consequences, including:
- An unattractive smile
- Tooth sensitivity
- Exposed tooth root
- Increased risk of decay
- Increased risk of tooth loss
The immediate risks of receding gums are an unattractive smile and tooth sensitivity. These are the things you can see and feel and should serve as a warning sign that you should talk to a dentist or periodontist.
If receding gums are left untreated, they will often continue to worsen. As they worsen, your risks will increase, particularly tooth loss.
Treating Receding Gums with a Gum Graft
If you have minor receding gums, they might grow back if you find the reason they’re receding and treat the cause. However, in most cases may will require some form of treatment.
The most established treatment for receding gums is gum graft. In a gum graft, gum tissue from elsewhere in your mouth is moved and placed over the gums where they are receding. The gums heal, creating a healthy, attractive gum line.
There are three common types of gum grafting procedures:
Which grafting procedure is best for you depends on the condition of your gums and the extent of recession. See Am I a Candidate for Gum Grafting for more detailed information. You can also see Gum Graft FAQ if you have questions.
A gum graft is a minor surgery, and gum graft recovery doesn’t require time off from work or play, though it does require a little extra care.