Dr. Katelyn Fenlon is a general dentist at Princess Center Dentistry in Scottsdale Arizona and today she is answering the question, how do dentists treat receding gums? 

Gum recession is really common I see it in at least half of my patients maybe even more.

Wondering, what receding gums are?  The gums move away from the tooth exposing the root of the tooth. 

Many different factors can contribute to gum recession including genetics.  You might just have a thin biotype. Other than genetics, there are three other factors that contribute to receding gums:

  1. Aggressive teeth-brushing: Some people are really aggressive toothbrushes and just really scrub really hard. It can make the gum move away from the tooth exposing the root of the tooth which is what receding gums are.
  2. Orthodontics: Sometimes done as a kid can result in receding gums happening later in life.
  3. Punching and Grinding: People that grind their teeth while they sleep and clenching together that pressure can cause the gum to recede.

How can it be fixed?  So if it’s a very slight amount of recession, typically we keep an eye on it and we take measurements to be sure it’s not getting worse. If an area of receding gums is severe and we’re worried that your gum is no longer going to be attached to your tooth, we’d send you to a specialist called a periodontist who exclusively works on the gums and the bones surrounding the teeth.

A periodontist would talk to you about your options:

  • Gum graft: A gum graft takes gum tissue from elsewhere in your mouth and puts it over the recession thus fixing the receding gums.
  • Filling material: Something else we can do which doesn’t fix the recession but it can fix recession related sensitivity is to bond filling material over the area of recession covering it up and insulating it so that you can drink ice water eat ice cream and do those things comfortably.

Got a question? Ask our dentist, Dr. Fenlon! Or leave it in a comment below.