Causes of Gum Recession

periodontist Pittsburgh

True or false: Receding gums are a normal part of getting older. Surprisingly, the answer is false. Gum recession is not caused by the aging process. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to enjoy healthy and stable gums throughout your lifetime. It is true, however, that the wear and tear that the teeth and gums are exposed to on a daily basis can contribute to significant damage such as recession.

Receding gums, or gums that pull away from the teeth, can occur at any age. Understanding the most common causes of recession helps you to identify the most probable risk factors as well as seek the appropriate treatment, typically performed by a periodontist.

As a dentist who specializes in the treatment of the structures that support the teeth, a periodontist can both diagnose the cause of receding gums and also provide the necessary dental care to correct the problem.

In a healthy mouth, the gums and the underlying bone provide a tremendous amount of support for the teeth. Strengthened by a microscopic network of connective fibers, the gums and bone cover the entire root of the tooth.

When recession occurs, the matrix of connective fibers, gum tissue, and underlying bone becomes compromised. The damage can take place over the course of several weeks, months, or years, depending upon a number of factors.

So, what really causes gum recession? The answer could be any of the following factors, or a combination of several factors:

  • Bruxism, or clenching and grinding of the teeth can create enough force to weaken the relationship between the teeth, gums, and bone.
  • Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection that can destroy the connective fibers and create pockets between the gums and the teeth.
  • Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, can compromise the immune system and prevent the body from fighting the bacteria that cause gum disease.
  • External factors such as smoking, tongue rings, and aggressive brushing can traumatize the tissue and lead to permanent damage.
  • Rapid or aggressive orthodontic treatment may contribute to a loss of bone support and soft tissue damage.

Early diagnosis and treatment of gum recession often provides you with the greatest chance for a healthy outcome. To have a professional evaluation by an experienced periodontist, call the Pittsburgh practice of Dr. Garry J. Bloch today.