Receding Gums Treatment Brisbane | Gum Recession

receding gums

We’ve all heard the expression ‘long in the tooth’ to describe growing older. This historically refers to receding gums, and the changes that accompany them not only impact the aesthetics of your smile but may also impact your overall oral health.

Gum Recession is usually a slow and gradual process. The first signs of Gum Recession that people tend to notice are newly formed gaps or ‘black triangles’ between the teeth, longer crowns or increased dental sensitivity around the gum line. However, in some cases, gums may recede in a short time-frame and the changes can be quite dramatic.

Oral Health Therapist Katherine Brown

Risks factors for gum disease and gum recession, including any genetic component, are assessed at your regular dental check up and hygiene appointments. This allows early detection and intervention.

If your recession is characterized by its speed or rapid development, your first priority should be a dental check-up. Untreated recession can impact supporting bone structure and may even cause the loss of teeth. We talk about the different causes of Gum Recession below, and luckily, your dental team can help you assess and manage the condition!

Symptoms of Receding Gums

Gum recession is often noticed because of changes to your dental aesthetics, or changes to your gums. Some of these have been highlighted on our diagram below, and we have listed several other telltale signs to be aware of –

receding gums symptoms

  • Teeth appear longer & roots are exposed
  • Increased size of spaces between teeth (i.e. black triangles)
  • Dental sensitivity – particularly around the gumline
  • Your tongue can feel a notch above below your tooth around the gumline
  • Red, swollen gums, and the formation of pockets between gums & teeth

What Causes Receding Gums?

Receding gums can be caused by a range of different conditions and factors. For example, a traumatic dental injury will cause a different form of recession to periodontal disease (Periodontitis).

Over time, these different effects can accumulate and it means that older people may experience more Gum Recession than younger people – they have had more time for a wider range of potential factors to act. Many genetic issues can also play a role, such as the structure of your jaw and teeth, and the relative thickness of your gums.

“While many factors can contribute to receding gums, improper oral hygiene techniques, such as vigorous brushing techniques and over cleaning, are the most commonly seen causes. This can be identified by your dental professional and with appropriate education and dental hygiene, can be stalled from further progression,” says Katherine Brown.

Three of the main groups of factors that impact gum recession are discussed below –

Gum Disease

Recognized as one of the main causes of recession, Gum Disease (also known as Periodontitis) is an inflammatory disease that affects the supporting structures of your teeth.

Periodontitis is a complex condition involving your body’s immune response to bacterial plaque, and it may result in the formation of pockets between the tooth & gum, and the loss of supporting bone around the teeth. This can cause the gums to recede, and consequently, preventive treatment and even surgical intervention may be necessary.

Gum Recession is linked to Periodontitis – therefore, any factors, such as smoking or genetic predisposition that are linked with Periodontal Disease may increase your susceptibility to Gum Recession as well.

Physical Wear

Physical wear takes place when an abrasive or traumatic force affects the gums, for example, a toothbrush or lip piercing repeatedly wearing the same area of the gums.

The most common type of physical wear is from your toothbrush, especially hard bristled brushes or for people that have a tendency to brush firmly. Most people will find toothbrush wear worse on one side, commonly referred to as the power-side.

Genetics (i.e. Overcrowding & Thin Gums)

Did you know that gum tissue can be naturally thinner, or more fragile, depending on your genetic makeup?

“Risks factors for gum disease and gum recession, including any genetic component, are assessed at your regular dental check up and hygiene appointments to allow early detection and intervention,” says Katherine Brown, Dental Hygienist and Therapist.

There are many genetic factors that align with a predisposition to gum recession. Fortunately, your dentist can help you assess if these issues are impacting your gum recession, and whether your recession can be linked to potential genetic issues, such as over crowding, thin gums or developmental issues.

Preventive Gum Disease Treatments

It is important that your treatment plan is tailored to your individual health and the factors that are impacting your Gum Recession.

“Prevention is always better than a cure! Effective oral hygiene habits at home and regular dental visits are the best way to prevent gum recession. If recession is already evident, treatment begins by identifying its cause,” says Katherine Brown.

“Your dentist or hygienist will assess any factors contributing to your receding gums and work with you to alter them. This may include something as simple as changing oral hygiene habits and routine, or more frequent dental visits. In more advanced cases, a discussion for surgical intervention may be required.”

Your dentist is in the perfect position to help you understand how to manage and treat your Gum Recession, and we discuss these options below.

Managing Your Oral Health

Your dentist can offer ways of improving your dental hygiene, and these take place both at home and in-the-chair. Often, we will need to assess how well you are cleaning and flossing, and whether any underlying dental issues are impacting your gums.

It is your dentist’s role to provide the dental education that allows you to look after your smile. This education is often provided while we are performing a consultation, but may also be accompanied by additional dental hygiene appointments.

However, a genetic predisposition, such as thin-gums, can mean that even the best-cleaned smile can suffer Gum Recession. So, even the best-kept oral hygiene plan may not be enough for everyone and your dentist can explain your options for further treatment.

Surgery for Gum Recession

A surgical approach to Gum Recession may be recommended for severe cases that need direct intervention. If your Gum Recession is impacting your aesthetics and you are losing self-confidence, then gum surgery can also be an effective way of helping to restore and maintain your smile.

Surgery for Gum Recession provides –

  • aesthetic benefits to your smile
  • cover for the roots of exposed teeth
  • protection from decay
  • reduced gum recession

Surgical intervention for Gum Recession is only commenced after you have had a comprehensive dental examination, and any necessary preventive measures have taken place.

Gum Grafts

A gum graft aims to restore an area of gum by relocating tissue from the palate to the gums, which is then stitched over the exposed roots and any gum areas suffering from severe recession.

“The main aims of a graft procedure are cosmetic improvement (of the smile), and to prevent further recession of the gums. Sensitivity may also be reduced,” says Prosthodontist Dr Stephen Robinson.

The range of graft procedures available in modern dentistry means your dentist can help you find the best alternative for your dental needs and help you choose a surgical treatment with the best outcomes for your individual health and smile aesthetics.