Can Receding Gums Grow Back

When gums recede, gum tissue pulls away from the tooth leaving the root exposed.  This can create tooth sensitivity issues and may make the teeth appear longer.  As gum recession occurs, small spaces are created where sticky bacterial plaque can accumulate.  The bacteria further contribute to recession and if not treated, can eventually result in tooth and bone loss.  Routine dental checkups are one of the best ways to combat gum recession as the dentist will be able to identify and treat the condition.

Unlike some other types of tissues in the body, gum tissue does not regenerate meaning receding gums will not grow back on their own.  Because of this limitation, understanding the causes of gum recession and related treatments can help patients make better informed decisions regarding their oral care.

What Causes Gum Recession?

There are several factors that may lead to gum recession and a dentist can likely identify which is responsible for the condition.  Common causes include:

  • Overaggressive Teeth Brushing:  If brushing is done too forcefully or fails to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, damage to both the tooth enamel and gums can occur leading to recession.
  • Poor Oral Health:  It is well known that flossing and brushing are vital to cleaning the teeth and gums.  Failure to adequately clean these areas can lead to plaque buildup which ultimately hardens into tartar.  If plaque and tartar are not removed, gum disease can develop which leads to recession.
  • Clenching or Grinding the Teeth:  The excessive pressure placed on the gums from grinding or clenching the teeth can damage the tissue and cause it to recede.
  • Periodontitis:  Severe gum disease, or periodontitis, causes the gums to pull away from the teeth to form pockets.  As bacteria invade these pockets, infection occurs that can damage the gum tissue and surrounding bone that hold teeth in place.  Once these areas are damaged, the teeth can become loose or potentially fall out.
  • Smoking:  People that smoke are at higher risk of developing gum recession than non-smokers.

How Can Receding Gums be Stopped?

Since gum tissue does not regenerate on its own, patients are likely curious about what options are available to combat gum recession.  The first step should always be consulting a dentist for an examination.  Based on the extent of the gum recession, the dentist may recommend:

  • Scaling and Root Planing:  A two step procedure performed by the dentist that involves first removing plaque and tartar before smoothing out the tooth roots.  This allows the roots to reattach to the teeth and may require more than one visit.  Often, this procedure will be sufficient to fix the problem.
  • Gum Surgery:  When gum recession is more severe, the dentist could recommend surgery.  Regeneration or open flap scaling and planing, are two types of gum surgeries that could be used to improve gum health.
  • Gum Graft:  Should gum tissue be lost, the dentist could recommend a gum graft (soft tissue surgery).  During this procedure, tissue from another area of the mouth is surgically attached to the gum tissue to cover exposed tooth roots.

What are Gum Recession Symptoms?