Ask Dr. Parker: Why Are My Gums Receding?

Published May 21st, 2015   

Maybe your teeth have become sensitive, or perhaps you noticed your teeth appear longer than they used to. Or you may even be able to feel a small bump at the gum line that wasn’t there before. Whatever the symptoms, your gums are receding and it’s normal to be concerned about it.

Have no fear: Many Americans suffer from gum recession during their lifetime. There are solutions for this problem, and we have experience treating patients for receding gums at our Glendale, AZ, office. Here’s a brief overview on gum recession that will answer all the questions you have.

Why Are My Gums Receding?

slide8This is the most common question we hear about gum recession. There are actually several common reasons why your gums may start to recede, including:

  • Hormonal changes — If you’re pregnant, in puberty, or in menopause, the hormones coursing through your body can make your gums sensitive. This can lead to erosion.
  • Hard brushing of teeth — When you use a hard-bristled brush and saw at your teeth instead of gently cleaning, you can rub away your tooth enamel. Talk to your dentist about finding a better toothbrush and practicing gentler brushing techniques.
  • Bruxism — If you grind your teeth, you’re putting pressure on the teeth and causing your gums to recede.
  • Genetics — You may simply have a genetic history of gum recession.
  • Periodontal disease — Gum disease is the leading cause of gum recession and should be addressed quickly to avoid further problems.
  • Poor dental hygiene — If you fail to brush or floss, plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth and wear away the gums.

Can Receding Gums Grow Back?

Many people want to know if their gums can grow back after they have receded, but oral surgery is the only way for this to happen.

You may have one of three procedures done to help your gums grow back:

  • In a pocket depth reduction, the dentist pulls back the flaps of your gums, cleans out what’s underneath, and pulls them back more snugly over the teeth.
  • In a regeneration, the dentist cleans out the pockets of your gums but also grafts on a protein or another membrane to stimulate tissue growth. This is an attempt to regenerate the bone and tissue that has been lost.
  • In a soft tissue graft, skin from the top of the mouth is cut and placed over where the gums have receded.

Preventing Gum Recession                                                                  

There are ways you can guard your teeth against gum recession. Don’t smoke, as tobacco has been linked to receding gums. Brush and floss with care to prevent periodontal disease. Get treated for bruxism if you clench or grind your teeth, and get regular checkups to keep your teeth healthy at all times. Contact Dr. Parker to learn more about preventing gum recession!


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