Compare your teeth to a house. If the foundation crumbles, the house will collapse. Your teeth are the same way, and your gums serve as the foundation.
If your gums appear to be receding, you might ask yourself, "Do gums grow back?" Here's what to look out for if you're concerned about gum recession and ways you can start on a path to healthier gums.
Gum Recession Causes and Signs
Just like a house foundation, gums support the teeth on all sides. Healthy gums snugly envelop a tooth and protect it. When gum tissue pulls away from a tooth, the tooth's roots become exposed, making them vulnerable to tooth decay and plaque formation.
One sign of gum recession is your teeth appearing longer than normal. That could mean the gums have receded (pulled away). Additionally, check your gums for signs of sensitivity. They might be swollen, tender or bleed easily. You may also experience bad breath.
If your gums are receding, one or more of the following could be the culprit:
- Gum disease
- Aggressive brushing
- Poor oral hygiene
- Teeth grinding
- Serious tooth or gum injury
Do Gums Grow Back?
Unfortunately, once the gums have receded, there is no way to grow them back. As explained by an article in the Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics, when gum recession occurs, the cells in the gum tissue waste away and decrease in volume. Essentially, the cells destroy themselves, and they are unable to regrow or regenerate.
If your gums are showing signs of recession, fear not. Your dentist or dental specialist has tools that can treat your smile and help you stop gum recession in its tracks.
Treatment Methods to Restore Gums
There are a number of dental treatments for gum recession. Your dentist may suggest scaling and root planing, which is a nonsurgical method of deep cleaning. Your dental professional will scale all the plaque and tartar (hard plaque) from your teeth, gumline and root surface and then fine scale the tooth's root with handheld dental hygiene instruments.
If more intensive treatment is necessary, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist for an evaluation for a surgical procedure called a gum graft. Gum grafting involves the transfer of tissue to cover the exposed root. The graft can come from your palate or synthetic tissue. This surgical treatment can restore your gumline and help stop further recession.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your recessed gums, speak with your dentist or periodontist about gum veneers. These appliances cover up the missing gum tissue and do not require surgery to be placed.
Preventing Gum Recession
By establishing good oral care habits, you can take steps to improve your mouth health and prevent gum recession. Make sure to brush your teeth gently twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. Avoid tobacco use and seek treatment from your dentist if you grind your teeth or have a tooth injury.
Continue seeing your dentist for regular checkups and your dental hygienist for professional cleanings. As part of the exam, they will assess your gum health and provide recommendations on how to keep your entire mouth healthy.