Gum (gingival) recession
It’s true that as we age we can get a little “long in the tooth”. A little bit of recession of the gum (gingival recession) can be normal. However aggressive toothbrushing, periodontal disease, and sometimes aggressive grinding can lead to excessive gum recession.
If you have thin or delicate gums, and sometimes tall or triangular teeth, then you would be more at risk of recession than others. Care should be taken to brush with the appropriate technique at the gumline, whilst not being too vigorous such as to create recession.
Untreated, recession can lead to a range of other dental problems, such as:
- Cosmetic problems including teeth appearing long, stained or out of proportion in the smile.
- Root sensitivity due to exposed root surface which would normally sit below the healthy gumline (also called dentinal hypersensitivity).
- Tooth decay
- Tooth wear, erosion or abfraction in some cases leading to pulp (nerve) exposure or tooth fracture.
- Buildup of plaque
- Loss of tooth-supporting bone below the gumline because as the area recedes away, the underlying bone does the same, potentially compromising tooth viability.
- Accelerated future gum recession (studies show that lack of healthy tissue in receded teeth can lead to further problems including periodontal disease).