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Gum Health Check
Blog - RW Perio

Receding gums and a gummy smile- everything you need to know!

16th June 2021

  • Why are my gums receding?
  • What can I do about receding gums?
  • What can I do about my gummy smile?
  • When is crown lengthening necessary?

Why are my gums receding?

Gum recession happens when the gum tissue has receded and lowers its position on the tooth, exposing the roots of the teeth.

You may be at more risk of recession depending on the position of your teeth in the jaw as well as the thickness of your gum and bone. The recession itself may be caused by plaque, overly aggressive brushing or trauma from e.g. lip/tongue piercings.

Gum recession needs attention and the first step is to consult your dentist or a gum expert on whether further measures need to be taken to stop or correct the recession.

tongue scraper

What can I do about receding gums?

If you are only mildly affected by receding gums, that’s great! Catching it early means that it may just be a case of monitoring it. However, either way, it’s important that the cause of the recession is established and corrected. This may involve modification of your brushing technique or gum disease treatment.

If further treatment is required, the one recommended will depend on the aims of the treatment. The most common treatment is the free gingival graft, which involves taking a small piece of tissue from the roof of your mouth (palate) and using this as a graft to an area that is deficient. This thickens the gums, helps facilitate oral hygiene, and helps prevent further recession. This is often used for lower front teeth.

If aesthetics is of concern then the gum is often moved to cover the recession. This may or may not be combined with a gum graft depending on the thickness of the existing gum. Advances in the application of microsurgical techniques have led to improved success, less post-operative discomfort, and reduced healing times.

What can I do about my gummy smile?

A gummy smile describes excessive gum display when smiling. The teeth can also look smaller than their expected size. It is not uncommon and shouldn’t be ignored especially if it affects your self-confidence and happiness.

There are many reasons for a gummy smile but it is largely due to the way your teeth, gums, and jaw have developed.

A gummy smile can be treated using a ‘gum lift’ or crown lengthening procedure. This lengthens your teeth and reduces the amount of gum on show, thereby improving your smile.

This procedure is also suitable for teeth that are extensively broken down and require a more sound tooth structure above the gum line to allow for a restoration/crown to be placed.

When is crown lengthening necessary?

Occasionally there is not enough tooth surface above the gum line to support a crown; this is when crown lengthening is necessary.

Crown lengthening removes gum and bone tissues, exposing more of the tooth to allow room for the new crown. Crown lengthening is sometimes also a cosmetic procedure option for patients with a “gummy smile,” which means you have too much gum tissue around your teeth.

Check out our other articles if you want to learn more about your dental care. Or contact us if you have any questions or feedback, or would like to book an appointment.

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