What Is Gum Recession?

Gum recession is when the gum tissue that surrounds your teeth begins to pull back, exposing more of your teeth, including their roots. Pockets, or gaps, form along the gum line, allowing bacteria to seep into the crevices. Receding gums may be one of the first signs of gum disease, and if left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structure of your tooth may become severely damaged, resulting in tooth loss. While gum recession is a common dental problem, most people go without knowing that they have it. The first sign of occurring gum recession is usually increased tooth sensitivity, or your teeth may even seem longer.

Causes Of Gum Recession

There are numerous different reasons as to why you may be experiencing gum recession. For one, you may have a vigorous brushing technique. Yes, brushing your teeth too hard can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear down, as well as your gums to recede. Other reasons as to why your gums may recede include:

  • Periodontal Disease– bacterial gum infections can destroy gum tissue, along with the supporting bone that holds your teeth into place. The main cause of receding gums is periodontal, or gum, disease.
  • Tobacco products-people who use tobacco are more susceptible to having sticky plaque on their teeth, which is difficult to remove, and can cause gum recession.
  • Grinding and clenching your teethTooth grinding, or bruxism, usually happens during sleep, causing most people to be unaware of the occurrence until they feel symptoms. Continuous stress put on the teeth can wear down the enamel greatly, and the force can irritate your gums and make them recede.
  • Lack of proper dental hygiene– if you do not exercise proper dental care on a daily basis, this can cause buildups of food particles and plaque. If this goes untreated, the buildup can lead to infectious gum disease or periodontitis.
  • Crooked teeth or misaligned bite– if you have a few individual teeth that are out of alignment, or you have a misaligned bite, pressure can be distributed unevenly throughout your gums and bone, and the excessive pressure can cause your gums to recede.

Prevention And Treatment For Gum Recession

For treatment of gum recession, the first step is determining what factors are causing it, so they can be minimized or even eliminated. Crooked teeth can be straightened out, tobacco use can be stopped, and better oral hygiene practices can be established. Once these are addressed, Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron can help determine and institute an appropriate treatment plan. Gum recession is usually treated by a periodontist, as it may require extensive work. During a dental cleaning, special tools may be used to remove plaque and tartar buildup on the roots underneath your gums. Gum grafting may be considered if some of the gum tissue has been irreversibly infected or damaged. If the recession becomes severe enough, the bone may be destroyed. In some cases, regenerative material can be placed in the area where there is bone loss and to help regenerate lost bone and tissue.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.