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New York Reconstructive Restorative Periodontics

Receding Gums: Diagnosis and Treatment

Gingival or gum recession is a condition where the protective tissue around your teeth is lost and pulls away towards the root.

Receding gingiva can be caused by gum disease, imbalanced occlusion (causing abfractions), improper tooth brushing (over brushing), trauma or poorly prepared restorative treatments (crowns, veneers).

As tissues recede on one or more teeth, increased sensitivity to temperature changes can occur along with accelerated decay of the root area surfaces, as they become more and more exposed.

Simple Recession Photo
Minor Gum Recession

Tooth Brush Abrasion

In toothbrush abrasion, tooth enamel at the gum line is worn away by horizontal overbrushing the sides of the teeth. Eventually this invasive brushing method wears away the protective enamel, exposing the inner nerve-containing part of the tooth called dentin.

Dentin is comprised of tiny tubules which extend from the surface of the tooth to the nerve of the tooth. Once the necks of the teeth are worn through and the gums have receded, cold temperatures and sweets touch the outside of these dentin tubules and the stimulus is extended to the nerve which is perceived as pain.

Methods of reducing the discomfort to touch and temperature changes include:
  • Use of a desensitizing toothpaste
  • Have bonded resin restorations placed over the worn areas along the necks of the teeth
  • Cover exposed sensitive root surface areas with soft tissue grafts

Dental Plaque Bacteria

Accumulation of plaque at the gum line, coupled with poor oral hygiene can lead to receding gums. Good oral hygiene practices become critical for adults. Flossing is an integral part of healthy hygiene habits.

The failure of practicing a daily regimen of healthy gum maintenance, as many adults soon learn (75% of adult population has gum disease), leads to the build up of bacteria and plaque. Toxins released by the bacteria within the plaque will eventually cause destruction of gum tissue and bone loss.

Periodontal Disease

Developing stages of Gingivitis or Periodontitis (advanced gum disease) accelerates the process of gum tissue to recede or shrink away from the necks of the teeth. Bone loss at each affected tooth structure also accelerates.

Long Island NY Severe Recession
Severe Gum Recession
During the cycles of advanced periodontal disease, deep gum pockets form which are difficult to keep clean and contain millions of bacterial cells that continue to destroy bone. As more bone support is lost around the roots of the teeth, they can become mobile and loose. These events are usually accompanied by foul breath.

Receding Gum Treatment Choices

Minor Recession

The appearance of receding gum tissue on a single tooth may indicate a recession problem that is not gum disease related. In these instances, grafting procedures may be implemented quickly to protect the tooth.

In the event a crown or veneer product is causing recession (bad margin design), properly designed crown or veneer replacements can initiate regrowth of the gingiva and papilla.

Long Island NY Tissue Harvesting Autogenous
Tissue Harvesting from Palate

Abfraction, over brushing

Autogenous gum tissues can be harvested from the patient to provide healthy graft material for performing simple periodontal repairs. Other grafting products are available if needed. Read our material on Grafting to learn more details on gum tissue grafts.

Gum Disease Causes

In cases where gum disease has become established, elimination (gingivitis) or strict management (periodontitis) of the disease is required before grafting procedures can be used.

In our office, Dr. Koeppel offers patients several choices of non surgical and traditional treatment therapies that allow them to pursue a variety of cosmetic and/or functional goals.


Call us at 631-689-1800 or use our convenient on-line Consultation Request form to schedule an evaluation. Learn more details about best treatment choices for stopping or preventing gum recession.

For patients who have specific questions about receding gums or any of the material on this page, Dr. Koeppel can contacted directly with our on-line Ask The Dentist form. Dr. Koeppel with reply directly to you with the information or answers you are seeking.

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New York Reconstructive Dentist
Ira Koeppel, D.D.S.
126 Gnarled Hollow Road
East Setauket Long Island New York NY 11733
Nassau - Suffolk County Spa Dentistry