Don’t panic. Receding gums are quite common. In fact, most people eventually develop a small amount of gum recession throughout life. The main thing is to find out if this is likely to lead to problems, either now or in future.
How would I know that?
This is where your periodontist can help. They will take measurements to assess your overall gum health as well as the amount of recession. A periodontist can advise if treatment is necessary to prevent or even reverse the effects of receding gums.
What sort of treatment?
It’s important to understand the cause of the gum shrinkage before recommending a specific treatment. There are many reasons for recession including gum inflammation, incorrect toothbrushing, a prominent tooth position, thin gums and even orthodontic treatment. Once the underlying cause has been addressed, your periodontist may suggest something to keep your gums more healthy.
You mean a gum graft?
Not necessarily. A gum graft can be helpful in some situations but not all types of gum recession require grafting.
There are many different types of treatment for receding gums. The best course of action depends on the individual circumstances of each patient. This could range from a simple change to your brushing technique, non-surgical periodontal treatment or, in some cases, soft tissue grafting or other surgical procedures.
Ouch. Is that going to be painful?
Most procedures require a local anaesthetic to keep you comfortable during the treatment. Some form of sedation can also usually be arranged for surgical procedures or for anyone who is particularly anxious about having dental treatment. These days, up-to-date techniques and magnification allow us to carry out very precise and much less invasive treatment. All of this means that you should experience much less discomfort than from traditional surgery.
However, some procedures can involve some post-operative pain for a short time. Your periodontist will prescribe any necessary pain relief to use immediately after treatment and recommend how to look after your mouth during the healing period.
I saw on the Internet that it’s really easy to treat receding gums with some sort of new technique.
A number of trademarked procedures have been advertised online, which claim to promote improved gum health without any of the side effects of more conventional gum surgery. Keep in mind that these advertisements are intended to market a very specific procedure to a wide audience.
Any dental treatment requires a thorough assessment by a qualified and experienced professional, who can advise on the best approach for you. A specialist periodontist has undergone years of additional training in these procedures after dental school to obtain the necessary qualifications and experience to help you.
I just don’t want my teeth to fall out!
Of course you don’t. Your first step should always be to have a comprehensive periodontal examination by a trained specialist. Visit your periodontist if you are concerned about receding gums.
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