What Causes Gum Recession (And What Can You Do About It)?

If your gums look like they’re pulling away from one or more of your teeth, you may have gum recession. This condition can cause your teeth to look longer than normal and create an unattractive smile. 

Gum recession can also cause physical changes in your teeth. As your gums pull away from each tooth, they create spaces, or pockets, between the teeth and gums. Bacteria can build up in these pockets and cause damage to both teeth and gums, resulting in tooth loss. As the gum pulls away, it also leaves your tooth root exposed, making it more sensitive to hot and cold. 

A gum recession treatment specialist can recommend the best way to correct your condition. Christian Pham, DMD of Crownridge Dental in San Antonio, Texas has the expertise necessary to diagnose and correct gum recession so your teeth look and feel normal again. With years of experience, Dr. Pham assesses your condition to determine an appropriate treatment and works to identify the cause of your gum recession so it doesn’t recur.

What causes gum recession?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, causes most cases of gum recession. The following factors contribute to this condition:

How can I treat gum recession?

Untreated gum recession can worsen the condition of your mouth. Periodontal diseases like receding gums account for about 70% of lost teeth in adults over age 40. Dr. Pham can provide expert treatment using several effective procedures. The specific procedure you receive depends on your degree of gum recession and the condition of your affected teeth.

Tooth scaling and root planing

Tooth scaling and root planing can provide effective treatment for mild gum recession. The treatment includes a deep cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth and the roots under your gum line. After the cleaning, Dr. Pham smooths out your tooth roots to enable the healthy gum tissue to reattach to your affected teeth. You may receive oral antibiotics to eliminate any remaining bacteria.

Open flap scaling and root planing

Open flap scaling and root planing may be used for moderate to severe gum recession. While similar to tooth scaling and root planing, this procedure also involves an incision in your gum. This allows Dr. Pham to fold back the affected gum tissue to perform a more thorough cleaning of the diseased pockets. After the treatment, Dr. Pham attaches the gum tissue to your tooth with stitches to eliminate the pocket. 


If your gum recession caused bone damage, Dr. Pham may perform regeneration following open flap scaling and root planing. After cleaning your pockets, he treats the affected area with a regenerative material, such as a bone graft, membrane, or tissue-stimulating protein to take advantage of your body’s natural ability to regrow healthy bone and tissue.

Soft tissue graft

A soft tissue graft involves removing a thin piece of gum tissue from a host area of your mouth. Dr. Pham stitches the tissue into the area around the receding gums to reduce the size of your pockets. When the graft heals, it covers the exposed tooth roots and protects your teeth from sensitivity and decay. It also restores your smile to a more normal and attractive appearance.

What symptoms occur with gum recession?

You may have gum recession if you notice your gums gradually pulling away from your teeth, along with any of the following symptoms:

If you think you’re experiencing gum recession, don’t delay getting treatment. The earlier you treat gum recession, the easier (and less costly) your treatment will be. Book online or call our office at 210-538-7500 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pham.

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