Find out if you have healed your receding gums

Have I healed my gum recession?
Have you noticed that your gums have pulled back or your teeth are longer than before? It is probably a sign of gum recession.

Gum recession is a common condition that can affect anyone, especially older people.

Different posts talk about the possibility of reversing gum recession with natural remedies. Perhaps you have tried these solutions yourself, hoping to get results.

Find out in this article if you have succeeded in healing your receding gums, why you should treat them in the first place, the right way to reverse them, and the criteria for successful treatment.

My receding gums have healed by themselves: Is this possible?

When gum recession occurs, it indicates the irreversible stage of gum disease. Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is an inflammatory condition that progresses gradually, leading to tissue destruction around the tooth. Its main factor is plaque accumulation on teeth surfaces, a thin, soft, whitish film filled with bacteria.

When these bacteria infiltrate the gums, they trigger inflammation. Our body's reaction to stop the infection will lead to bone loss and gum shrinkage.

In addition to gum disease, other factors that result in persistent and continuous irritation, such as brushing with too much pressure or using a hard bristle toothbrush, can lead to gum recession.

Although it is possible to stop or slow down the process, it is impossible to regrow gums.

You may hear about home remedies and natural solutions to reverse this condition. They can indeed help reduce inflammation and bacterial load, thus improving oral health, but none of them can make your gums grow back.

One of the symptoms of periodontal disease is swollen gums. Don't be fooled by this sign because it can sometimes hide existing recessions and make you think they have disappeared.

As soon as the inflammation subsides, your gums will return to their normal state and reveal the recession again.

That's why, after a deep dental cleaning, it's common to experience gum recession (as swelling decrease). Surprisingly, this can actually be seen as a positive sign that the gums are healing (1).

So, when you first notice signs of gum recession, the best course of action is to consult your dentist as soon as possible. They can assist you in implementing preventive measures to halt the progression of the condition and, if required, evaluate the possibility of a surgical procedure.

When should gingival recession be treated in the first place?

Not all gingival recession requires treatment. If you notice your gums starting to recede, but it's minimal, not getting worse, and not causing any cosmetic or sensitivity issues, you may not need treatment. All you need to do is adjust your oral hygiene routine by brushing and flossing regularly and gently, using a soft bristle toothbrush.

However, if one or more of these conditions are present, your dentist may suggest gum graft surgery to stabilize or cover the exposed roots:

  1. Cosmetic concerns: The recession is showing on your front teeth, affecting your smile.

  2. Tooth sensitivity: The roots that are no longer covered by the gum can cause sensitivity when you eat cold, sweet, or hot foods or by simply touching them. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to sharp pain that may interfere with your daily activities (eating, brushing, or breathing through your mouth).

  3. The recession is getting worse: The recession may be active and tends to progress without treatment.

The solution to cover your gum recession

Covering exposed roots can be achieved through various options and techniques, and your dentist will determine the best procedure for your specific situation.

Now, when it comes to increasing the height of your gums, surgery is the way to go. But, before diving into surgery, your dentist will first identify and address any underlying factors contributing to the issue.

They'll perform a thorough dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, the leading causes of gum disease. They will also guide you on proper oral hygiene techniques to apply at home.

This step is crucial as it prevents further progression of the disease while ensuring a healthy environment for the procedure.

Once the underlying issue is addressed, the next step is the surgical phase. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for a gingival graft. Your dentist will evaluate your specific case before making any decisions.

Harvesting soft tissue from the palate

Alternatively, for minor gum recession cases, non-surgical approaches can often be sufficient to address the issue. These include:

  • Brushing gently with the right toothbrush and toothpaste: Using a soft toothbrush and a gentler brushing technique can not only prevent receding gums but also reverse the early damage. Using a toothpaste specifically designed for receding gums can also be beneficial, but it should complement regular brushing rather than replace it.

  • Dental bonding: This involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the exposed roots. The aim is to reshape the tooth to effectively conceals the black gaps caused by gum recessions.

  • Orthodontics: If gum recession is caused by misalignment issues, using braces or aligners to reposition the teeth can lead to a significant improvement.

How do I know if my gums have healed?

After a few weeks following the gingival graft procedure, your gums should have completed the healing process. The success of the graft relies on the appearance and quality of your gums.

Ideally, the graft should cover your exposed roots with a color that closely matches the surrounding tissue, particularly for teeth that are visible when you smile.

Here are the signs that your gums have healed properly:

  1. Firmness: Your gums should feel firm to the touch.
  2. Color: They should be pink and evenly outline your teeth.
  3. Bleeding: There should be no bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth.
  4. Swelling: Your gums should not be swollen.

Furthermore, after the healing process, any sensitivity or discomfort you previously experienced should be resolved.

Picture of healthy gums

Picture of Healthy Gums

Keep the results and prevent further recession

After your recovery, it's important to remember that achieving good results is not the end of the journey.

To maintain the long-term success of your gums and prevent further recession, you need to prioritize good oral hygiene practices and consider incorporating new tools into your routine. Here are some recommendations to keep in mind:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush. Don't use horizontal strokes, as they are more aggressive to your teeth and gums.

  • Clean between your teeth once a day with dental floss or an interdental brush.

  • Use gentle brushing and flossing techniques to avoid putting excessive pressure on your gums.

  • Ask your dentist if you can incorporate an antimicrobial mouthwash into your routine to help control bacterial growth and maintain healthy gums.

  • Follow a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support gum health.

  • If you smoke or use any form of tobacco product, it's time to quit. Tobacco smoke contains many toxic compounds that weaken the immune system and reduce blood flow to the gums. This will reduce the body's ability to defend itself from bacteria, worsening gum disease.

  • If you have a systemic disease such as diabetes or a blood disorder, control your condition by following the advice of your specialist. Some general diseases have a direct impact on gums' health.

  • Last but not least, make regular visits to your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and comprehensive oral examinations to detect any early signs of gum problems.