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What is Gingival or Gum Recession?

This blog reviews what gingival recession is and the typical causes of gingival recession.  Photos display gingival recession on both front and back teeth.  By reading this blog is is hoped that you will become more aware of this problem and the ways that gingival recession can be prevented.  If gingival recession is already present, you will read how you can help prevent it from progressing.

Gingival Recession

Several areas of gingival or gum recession noted

What is gingival recession?  See the photo above.  Gingival recession happens when the gums recede or move away from their normal position near the edge of the tooth’s enamel and move toward the tip of the tooth’s root exposing the root surface of the tooth.  Once gingival recession has occurred, it will not go away on its own.  Typical causes of gingival recession are as follows:

  1. Overly aggressive tooth brushing
  2. Brushing the teeth with a hard-bristled toothbrush
  3. Brushing the teeth with an abrasive toothpaste
  4. A gum infection, periodontitis or gingivitis may cause attachment loss especially if not treated early
  5. Orthodontic movement of the teeth into an area of very thin bone so that the bone resorbs and the gums move down the roots of the teeth
  6. Trauma
  7. An ill-fitting appliance that presses on the gums
  8. Clenching and grinding of the teeth alone or combined with any of the above

We care about gingival recession for many reasons.  Mostly because we want you to save your teeth for a lifetime and gingival recession is not a normal process of aging.  Most importantly your dentist should help you determine the cause of your gingival recession and then tell you the things you can do to prevent it from continuing!


In the photo shown here, the gingival recession is present in most areas of the mouth.  As you can see, the front teeth have been beautifully restored with porcelain veneers.  The likely causes of the gingival recession is Orthodontic movement of the teeth combined with excessive and hard tooth brushing.  Look closely at the gingival recession present on the back teeth.  The exposed root is much softer than the adjacent enamel on the crown of the tooth and because this exposed part is softer, the root is more likely to be damaged or worn away by excessive tooth brushing.

So, what should you do?  If you believe that you have gingival recession you should talk about this with your dentist.  We recommend the following:

Our office would be happy to help you take the best care possible of your teeth.  You can reach our Grand Junction, Colorado office at (970) 242-3635.  Or visit our website at www.juliegillisdds.com for more information.  We would love to have you visit and like us on Facebook or Instagram.  Find us at Julie Gillis DDS on Facebook or Julie Gillis DDS on Instagram