Gum recession refers to the condition in which the gum tissue level surrounding a tooth or teeth recedes and exposes more tooth structure that sometimes extends to include the root surface of the tooth. Gum recession will give the appearance of a longer tooth and is an actual clinical sign that can have several different causes.
Some of those causes are:
- Gum Disease
- Over-aggressive/improper tooth brushing or use of a toothbrush with hard bristles
- Tongue or other oral piercings
- Genetics (too much muscle attachment)
- Malocclusion (misaligned teeth or bite that were never corrected with braces)
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- Tobacco use
Why is gum recession a problem?
- Gum recession can potentially be a clinical sign of gum disease and should be properly assessed by a periodontist.
- Gum recession that exposes root surfaces can cause significant tooth sensitivity. Root surfaces are not covered in enamel and are far more sensitive that the rest of the tooth.
- Gum recession can cause a less aesthetic smile that can affect self-confidence
- When gums recede to the point of including the portion of gum tissue that attaches to the tooth, destruction to the periodontium, (supporting structures of the teeth that hold the teeth in place), has occurred.