Receding Gums Stages, Dangers And Health Risks

Recession is measured by the distance between the margin of your crown – where the enamel tapers off called the cementoenamel junction – and the level of the gums.

Gum recession is measured in the following categories:

Class I – Mild gum recession. There is no bone loss or loss of tissue between the teeth.

Class II – Gum recession extends toward the border of attached and loose gingiva. There is no bone loss or loss of tissue between the teeth.

Class III – Gum recession extends past the border of attached and loose gingiva. Bone loss or loss of tissue between the teeth is evident. The root is partially covered.

Class IV – Severe gum recession that is associated with gross loss of bone. There is no root coverage.

Receded gums are measured in terms of attachment loss. Simply having mild gum recession does not mean you are in the clear for gum disease. You may have mild recession with just one to two millimeters of exposed root surface, but a very deep pocket under the gum lines that is symptomatic of severe periodontitis. However, severe gum recession also means there obviously cannot be enough bone support on that portion of the tooth, meaning tooth stability is at risk. The more moderate to severe your gum recession, the more susceptible your tooth is to mobility and loss.

 Dangers And Health Risks

Gum recession is a key factor in maintaining healthy tooth stability. Losing attachment levels around a tooth can ultimately lead to tooth loss, which also affects the adjacent teeth in the area. If recession is due to habits such as abrasive brushing, grinding, clenching or tobacco use, it is important to halt these before even more loss can occur.

Receded gums can also be a signal that you are suffering from gum disease. Healthy gums are tightly attached to the teeth near the margin of the dental crown, with no exposed root surfaces. If inflammation, bleeding, redness or sore gums are associated with your receded gums, it is likely that you are suffering from periodontitis. This severe form of gum disease is directly associated with health risks and conditions such as:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Preterm labor

Gum recession may be slow, or it may be very progressive. Most recession is usually noticed when you have already lost two millimeters of attachment around the tooth, leaving a mild amount of root surface exposed. The more severe your gum disease, the quicker you will see the attachment levels being lost. If the cause of your recession is due to grinding or abrasive brushing, the signals may take longer to appear.

Any signs of recession during orthodontic treatment should immediately be brought to the attention of your orthodontist. Recession during orthodontic therapy is a sign that movement is occurring at too rapid of a rate, with gum and bone levels not being able to keep up with the repositioning.

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