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Warning Signs for Receding Gums and When to Visit Your Dentist

dentist looking at xrays from a patient

Have you noticed recently that your teeth seem to be getting longer? The odds are that this is not the case at all, but you aren’t crazy for noticing a difference in the appearance of your smile. That apparent lengthening of your teeth is most likely the result of gum recession.

Receding gums can be caused by a number of things, and they can result in some unpleasant symptoms, which you should take care of as soon as possible. Take a look at this guide to the signs, causes, and treatment options for gum recession, and make sure to reach out to your dentist if you’re experiencing any symptoms.

Signs that Your Gums Are Receding

Gum recession may not be noticeable at first, but after a certain point, there will likely be some obvious symptoms you’ll want to speak with your dentist about. Those symptoms include the following:

Change in Tooth Appearance

Those seemingly longer teeth are actually the result of more of the formerly hidden parts of your teeth being exposed due to gum recession.

Increased Sensitivity

The sensitive parts of your teeth are usually protected by gum tissue, and when they are exposed, it can mean an increase in sensitivity. If you’re experiencing tooth pain when eating hot or cold foods or when your teeth are exposed to cold air, it may be a result of gum recession.

Swelling and Redness in the Gums

Gum recession is often caused by gum disease, which is an infection in the gums that can cause inflammation and redness. If your gums appear puffy and they’re not their usual pink color, reach out to your dentist.

Bleeding During Oral Care

Another sign of gum disease, and possibly gum recession, is when your gums bleed while brushing or flossing. Gums should never bleed easily.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

There are a few reasons you may be experiencing bad breath that have nothing to do with gum recession, but if you maintain a good oral hygiene routine and you find you still consistently have bad breath, it may be the result of gum disease.

Loose Teeth

Your gums provide support to your teeth, and when they begin to recede, that support is diminished and can result in your teeth becoming loose.

Causes of Gum Recession

Your gums won’t recede without some sort of catalyst. Below are some of the most common reasons you might be experiencing this oral health issue.

Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Dental plaque is a combination of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, which can eventually harden into tartar. When allowed to build up, the bacteria in plaque and tartar can wear away at gum tissue or even cause infection.

Gum Disease

The infection caused by plaque and tartar buildup is known as periodontitis, or gum disease. Gum disease can lead to a variety of issues with both your oral and overall health, one of which is gum recession.

Brushing Too Hard

If you brush your teeth too hard, it can wear away at your gum tissue. Over time, the wearing can be significant enough to lead to gum recession and its associated symptoms.


If your teeth are positioned awkwardly, gum tissue can sometimes erode due to an unusual amount of friction.

Tobacco Use

Both smoking and chewing tobacco can reduce blood flow to your gum tissue, which can eventually lead to gum recession.

When to Visit Your Dentist About Gum Recession

Even if gum recession isn’t causing discomfort, it’s always a good idea to speak with your dentist about it as soon as possible. Not only is it likely that the recession will eventually lead to some uncomfortable symptoms, but it may also indicate a larger problem, such as periodontitis.

How Gum Recession Is Treated

If you’re worried about your gum recession, you’ll be happy to know that there are a few ways in which the condition can be successfully treated. The most common among them are listed below.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a kind of dental deep clean used to treat gum disease. During the procedure, your dentist will use special tools to remove plaque and tartar from below your gum line and work to reattach the gum tissue to the tooth root.


Sometimes, antibiotics are used when treating recession-causing gum disease. These can be applied during a scaling and root planing procedure, or you can apply them topically.

Gum Graft Surgery

Gum graft surgery is a procedure in which your dentist takes healthy gum tissue from another part of your mouth or from a donor and grafts it onto the area where recession has occurred.

Treatment for Gum Recession from Dental Implant & Aesthetic Specialists

If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum recession, contact Dental Implant & Aesthetic Specialists today to schedule a consultation.