If you’ve had braces recently or in the past, you know how painful and at times inconvenient they can be; and unfortunately, they can sometimes lead to gum recession due to the constant compressive forces being applied to the bones of your mouth.

You might be wondering if gum recession during orthodontic treatment is normal – and how to help ease symptoms until you get your braces off. Here’s everything you need to know about gum recession during orthodontic treatment.

What Is Gum Recession?

First, it’s important to understand what gum recession is in the first place. If you have gums that are receding, which means you have gums pulling away from a tooth or multiple teeth, it’s important to get that looked at. Gum recession can expose the root of teeth, potentially leading to sensitivity, root decay, and unpleasantries like bad breath. Gum grafting also assists in preventing future recession and bone loss.

There are multiple reasons gums may recede, such as:

  • Vigorous tooth brushing
  • Periodontal disease
  • Genetics (gum recession can be hereditary)
  • Increased risk due to having orthodontic work at a young age
  • Having braces or a retainer 

How Do Braces Cause Gum Recession?

While braces can be beneficial for repairing crooked teeth or other issues by shifting the teeth into new positions, they can also have a negative impact on the mouth’s gum tissue. This is because as the braces push and pull on the teeth, they may also affect the jawbone that surrounds the teeth. This can cause a variety of issues, particularly if you are predisposed to gum problems:

  • Loss of bone near or around the teeth
  • Periodontal pockets between the teeth
  • Gum sensitivity

If bone loss starts to occur, loss of gum tissue may start to happen as well – which can result in gum recession.

However, it’s important to note that the gum recession associated with braces is almost always incredibly mild, and can be treated with non-invasive and non-surgical remedies.

How Can I Treat Gum Recession?

Most of the time, mild gum recession doesn’t even require treatment. However, you need to carefully monitor your gums and gently brush your teeth. If you do start to notice significant gum recession, there are some options that you can look into. Ask your dentist about the ones that might be most effective for you.

  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups – especially during orthodontic treatment
  • Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Gum/gingival grafting
  • Scaling and root planing (if severe)

Gum recession can’t be reversed, which means receded gum tissue won’t grow back. However, mild gum recession doesn’t necessarily put your mouth at increased risk of gum disease.

At home, you can do a few things to help prevent gum recession during orthodontic treatment. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes at least twice a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove plaque and debris from your teeth and along the gum line. Depending on how vigorously you brush, a medium- or hard-bristled brush could damage your gums, root surface, and tooth enamel.

Are you worried about gum recession? Contact our office today for a consultation!