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Receding Gums


Receding gums occur when the gums and the bone in the mouth have moved away from the tooth.


Receding gums may be caused by gum disease, imbalanced occlusion (the way the teeth fit together when you bite down), or trauma.

Accumulation of plaque at the gum line and poor oral hygiene can lead to receding gums. Bacteria on the plaque release toxic substances that can cause destruction of gum tissue.

When occlusion (the way teeth come together) is imbalanced, excessive forces placed on the teeth cause trauma to the bone and gums. Gum recession exposes the roots, causing the teeth to become sensitive to hot, cold, sweet, and salty substances. Excessive pressure resulting from grinding or clenching teeth may cause the gums to recede.

Receding gums may occur when teeth are crooked or fillings and crowns are placed without properly balancing the bite. In both of these cases, the teeth do not come together properly, and increased forces are placed on certain parts of the teeth. Initially, the gums and bone adjust to excessive forces. However, if the forces continue, bone destruction may result.


Because the teeth and supporting structures have the ability to adapt, one may not realize that the gun recession is occurring until sensitivity is noticed or one detects changes around the teeth.


The diagnosis is made by your dentist upon examination of the mouth.


Fillings and crowns that do not meet properly should be corrected, and grinding and clenching the teeth should be stopped.

Once the gums have receded, the teeth may become sensitive. The dentist may prescribe an agent to desensitize the teeth. Most of these agents are in solution form and are applied to the sensitive area with a cotton swab.

Certain toothpastes may provide some relief. If the teeth continue to be sensitive, composite resins or other types of fillings, such as amalgam or gold, may be placed in the tooth.

Nutritional supplements such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B complex, and vitamin C are sometimes prescribed for prevention of decay and repair of gum tissue.


What is causing the gums to recede?

Is there evidence of a bite problem?

How can this be corrected?

What can be done to minimize the sensitivity of the teeth?

Would a desensitizing toothpaste help?