Receding Gum Symptoms

Spot the signs, effects and symptoms of receding gums to discover if gum disease is causing damage to your oral health.

Gum Recession Symptoms - Explained in Detail

Receding gum symptoms is your first indication and warning that future tooth loss might be a real reality. Ignoring the signs is dangerous to your oral health, with unreversible consequences.

If you’ve noticed that teeth appear longer or narrower than usual, it’s not because your teeth are getting longer, but rather that the gums seem to be pulling away from your teeth. If this is paired with black triangular pockets or gaps between teeth, you can feel more confident in your self-diagnosis that the gums are receding and gum disease has progressed into a more serious stage that can lead to tooth loss if action is not taken.

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Gum Recession Symptoms

Pain at the gum line

Patients with gum recession will experience pain or heightened sensitivity at the gum line when brushing their teeth or eating, this is because the tooth roots are no longer protected or covered by enamel. Instead, they’re covered with cementum, which is not as strong. Dentists here can apply a fluoride varnish to reduce discomfort.

Visibly shrinking gums

Gum recession, which happens slowly will show the gums beginning to pull back from teeth and eventually exposing more and more of the tooth root. The teeth will begin to appear longer, and you’ll be able to see the gums lower in some areas of the mouth.

Exposed tooth roots

Exposed tooth roots can be intensely painful and sensitive. The teeth will look discoloured and the gums will be tender and swollen. There’s no easy fix, and treatment will be more complex if the gum has receded so far down the tooth.

Loose teeth

When gums pull away and the teeth form pockets, infections are likely to cause damage to the tissue and bone holding the teeth in place, which causes loose and wobbly teeth. Eventually, when left untreated, this might lead to tooth loss.

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Different Types of Gum Recession

Gum recession, like gum disease, happens in stages. The level of recession is measured by the distance between the margin of your crown and the gum ratio.

Severity is split into the following classes:

  • – Class I: Mild gum recession with no bone or tissue loss between teeth.
  • – Class II: Gum recession has extended past the border of attached loose gingiva, but bone and tissue loss have still not occurred.
  • – Class III: Gum recession extending past the border and bone and tissue loss between teeth is evident. The root of the tooth still remains partially covered.
  • – Class IV: Severe gum recession where there’s been extreme bone loss and the tooth root is no longer covered.

Please note that gingival recession cannot be reversed, once the tissue has started to pull back from the teeth, it cannot regrow on its own. However, dentists like us offer treatments to prevent the problem from worsening, with deep cleaning and root scaling effectively removing plaque and tartar from below the gum line. Gum tissue grafting and pocket reduction surgery might also be able to help, with other cosmetic treatments being used to conceal the look of receding gums.


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