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David M. Rizk, DDS

Gum Recession: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

added on: September 14, 2023

Maintaining good oral health is essential for a confident smile and overall well-being. But that doesn’t mean dental problems can’t happen. One common dental concern that many individuals face is gum recession. Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away, exposing the tooth’s roots. This can increase tooth sensitivity and increase the risk of dental problems. But what causes gum recession in the first place and how can your dentist in El Paso treat it? 

Causes of Gum Recession

There’s no one thing that causes gum recession, and it’s important for your dentist to determine the underlying cause before recommending a treatment plan. Gum recession can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing or flossing can lead to plaque buildup, which can irritate and inflame the gums, causing them to recede over time.
  • Aggressive Brushing: Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can contribute to gum recession by damaging the delicate gum tissue.
  • Gum Disease: Periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, can lead to gum recession if left untreated. These conditions cause inflammation and infection of the gums, which can result in tissue loss.
  • Tobacco Use: Smoking or using tobacco products can restrict blood flow to the gums, making them more vulnerable to recession.
  • Grinding and Clenching: Bruxism, the habit of grinding or clenching teeth, can exert excessive force on the gums and contribute to their recession.

Treatment for Gum Recession

Treatment options for gum recession vary based on the severity of the recession and its underlying causes. Some treatments include:

Desensitizing Agents

Over-the-counter or prescription toothpaste and mouthwash can help alleviate sensitivity caused by exposed tooth roots.

Fluoride Treatments

Professional fluoride applications can strengthen the enamel and reduce sensitivity.

Scaling and Root Planing

A deep cleaning procedure that removes plaque and tartar from below the gumline, allowing the gums to reattach to the teeth.


In cases of gum disease, antibiotics may be prescribed to control bacterial infection and inflammation.

Lifestyle Modifications

Making healthier lifestyle choices, such as maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and managing stress, can contribute to gum health.

In cases where gum recession has progressed significantly, surgical interventions may be necessary.

Gum Grafting

This procedure involves taking tissue from another part of the mouth, such as the palate, and attaching it to the area with receding gums. This helps cover the exposed tooth roots and prevent further recession.

Pinhole Surgical Technique

A minimally invasive procedure where a small hole is made in the gum tissue and special instruments are used to reposition the gum over the exposed roots.

Regenerative Procedures

These techniques involve stimulating the growth of new gum tissue and bone to restore areas that have been affected by gum disease.

Preventing Gum Recession

Preventing gum recession involves a combination of good oral hygiene practices and healthy lifestyle choices:

  • Brushing and Flossing: Proper brushing and flossing techniques help remove plaque and prevent its accumulation along the gumline. Opt for a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the gums while brushing.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular visits to your El Paso dentist allow for the early detection and management of any gum-related issues.
  • Smoking Cessation: Quitting smoking can improve gum health and reduce the risk of gum recession.

Gum recession is a common dental issue that can have significant consequences for oral health and aesthetics. By understanding its causes, practicing preventive measures, and seeking timely treatment, individuals can maintain healthy gums and preserve their smiles for years to come. Remember, regular dental check-ups with your El Paso dentist are crucial for addressing and managing gum recession effectively.

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