Teeth loss and gingival recession

IMI Clinic

Gingival recession is a deficiency in the periodontal tissues because the gingival margin migrates towards the apex, with consequent loss of adherence and exposure of the root.


In other words, gingival recession represents the portion of root exposed as a consequence of a traumatic or inflammatory event that affected the periodontal tissues. It can be measured with a millimetrically precise instrument (periodontal probe), measuring the distance between the amelo-cemental junction and the gingival margin.


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“Receding” gums: causes and consequences

Often patients become aware of gingival recession and refer that their “gums have receded” or that their “teeth have gotten longer.”

This ailment compromises the periodontal health of the tooth itself and hinders the appearance of the mouth. Furthermore, since the margin of the gingival tissue surrounding the tooth becomes worn and recedes, its root becomes more exposed and subjected to attacks by pathogens.

If the recession isn’t treated in time, the tissues sustaining the teeth (periodontium) can undergo serious damage with consequent loss of the dental elements.

Many people don’t notice the gingival recession because it happens gradually. The first sign is increased sensitivity: you may then notice the root is exposed or you might feel a groove near the gingival line.

The causes or gingival recession are many:

  • Disease of the periodontium is the main cause of gingival recession. This disease leads to the irreversible loss of periodontal tissue and causes extended recession even on the interproximal and lingual surfaces of the teeth. At the same time, the interdental spaces, usually occupied by the gingival papilla appear as “black triangles” in which stagnating plaque and food residues cause a permanent inflammation of the periodontal tissues.
  • Muscular insertions or aberrant labial fraenum inserted very close to the gingival margin can constitute a further cause for gingival recession. These fibrous chords often exert traction on the gingiva.
  • Incompetent orthodontic treatments can contribute to the onset of recession. An orthodontist may not notice he or she has moved a tooth in the external area of the alveolar process. So the tooth easily loses its external bone support (vestibular) and with it the gingival disappears. Usually this does not happen immediately after an orthodontic treatment but after a few years the gingiva on the canines and incisors starts to disappear.
  • Malocclusion and/or tooth crowding a tooth incorrectly placed in the dental arch often lacks pink gingiva. This pink gingiva is more robust and apt to support the trauma of brushing.
  • Bruxism: grinding or excessive clenching of the teeth predisposes to gingival recession and can cause the gums to pull back.
  • Lip or tongue piercing: the friction of metal on the gums and the teeth can stimulate the process of gingival recession.
  • Eating disorders (self-induced vomiting such as Bulimia) where the gastric acids brought up can destroy enamel and gingiva.
  • The lack of vitamin C (Scurvy) also contributes to gingival recession.
  • Prostheses or conservative restorations with exuberant margins can also be the cause of gingival recession.



What can you do about gingival recession?

When you see gingival recession you should make an appointment with your dentist, who will recommend an adequate therapeutic treatment plan.

We strongly discourage you from ignoring the problem.

Professional hygiene than includes an accurate removal of the tartar, the decontamination of gingival pockets and the cleaning of exposed roots makes it difficult for bacteria to resettle. This is of the utmost importance for the maintenance of your oral health.

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