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. 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.
Treatment of Receding Gums
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.