How Come My Gum Recession Got Worse In A Week

Do you think your gum recession has gotten worse in a week or happened all of a sudden? If so you may be wondering how this has happened.

Gum recession doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly over time, often without you noticing. However, there are some instances where it may seem like it is happening rapidly. 

Heightened awareness of gum recession in addition to periodontal disease and its treatment often results in rapid shrinkage of gum tissue and recession. 

This post looks at the causes of gum recession and why you may think it has gotten worse in a week.

how come my gum recession got worse in a week

Causes of Gum Recession

There are many causes of gum recession. Gum tissue can be worn away by constant rubbing, inflammatory conditions can cause loss of jaw (alveolar) bone and structures which support and give structure to the gum tissue.

Physical/Mechanical Factors

Constant rubbing of the gum tissue can cause the gum tissue to recede. Below are some examples of how this can happen.

  • Vigorous tooth brushing or brushing with a hard bristle toothbrush
  • Oral piercings
  • Poorly designed dentures
  • Misaligned teeth and thin gum tissue

Periodontal therapy which involves the mechanical and/or surgical removal of plaque-bacteria is accompanied by gum recession as inflammation subsides. Successful periodontal surgery (treatment of gum disease) can result in bone reabsorption and gum recession.

Inflammation

An inflammatory process triggered by plaque bacteria can destroy bone and soft tissues – the structures that support and give structure to the gum tissue. When these supporting structures are lost the bone recedes. 

The following conditions may result in inflammation and gum recession. 

  • Periodontitis (advanced gum disease)
  • Poorly fitted crowns

Gum Recession Often Goes Unnoticed

Gum recession often goes unnoticed as it’s painless, the jaw does not hurt when gum recession starts.  When gum recession progresses to an advanced state, the tooth roots and nerves become exposed. This results in pain and sensitivity. Many find gum recession unaesthetic and worry their teeth will fall out. 

Gum Recession May Appear To Occur Rapidly

Gum recession doesn’t happen suddenly, it happens slowly over many years. However, it may on occasion seem like it has happened quickly.

Gum Disease Treatment

If you have periodontal disease, the gums are often swollen and inflamed. Often following successful periodontal therapy with root surface debridement and improved oral hygiene gum recession that seems quite rapid can occur.

Disease-related inflammation often disguises bone loss occurring under the gums. As the inflammation subsides the gum tissue shrinks back on healing. 

Gum recession is not a result of the treatment but is caused by getting rid of the problem.

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Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatments which involve root planing can lead to significant amounts of gum recession. This may result in an aesthetic change, such as the creation of ‘black triangles’ between the teeth due to the loss of the papillae. This tends to take place over the first six-month period following treatment.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical treatments for advanced gum disease which involve removing some soft tissue or reshaping the alveolar bone can lead to a dramatic movement in the gum tissue resulting in gum recession. When this occurs around the teeth at the front of the mouth you may find this aesthetically unacceptable.

Aggressive Periodontitis

If you have an aggressive form of periodontal disease you may experience bone loss at a relatively rapid rate and gum recession will also occur at a relatively rapid rate.

Heightened Awareness

If you become aware that gum recession is occurring, you may tend to notice it more or obsess over it and believe that it is happening at a rapid rate. This is probably not the case and in most cases, unless you have periodontal treatment or an aggressive form of gum disease, gum recession happens slowly over time.

Improved Oral Hygiene

Have you been really busy or stressed recently? Maybe during that time, you neglected your oral hygiene and the gums have become inflamed. It could be that now you have more time to take care of yourself you’re brushing your teeth properly. This results in a reduction in inflammation, the gums have contracted and they are no longer as swollen. The gum recession could be a sign of health.

Other More Serious Causes

Whilst extremely rare, if gum recession has occurred very rapidly along with tooth mobility it could be a sign of something more sinister. We’d recommend visiting the dentist so that x-rays can be taken to exclude anything untoward like cancer. 

How To Prevent Rapid Gum Recession

The best way to prevent gum recession is to 

  • Remove oral piercing 
  • Have poorly fitted dentures or dental restoration fixed
  • Prevent gum disease with good oral hygiene
  • Stop smoking
  • Live a healthy lifestyle – reduce sugar intake and frequency of consumption and eat a healthy diet
  • Don’t ignore gum disease – seek early treatment before it becomes advanced

Treatment for Gum Recession

If you have gum recession the following treatment options are available (1)

  • Monitoring and prevention with good oral hygiene and lifestyle changes
  • Use of desensitising agents, varnishes and dentine bonding agents
  • Pink porcelain or composite restoration
  • Removable gingival veneers
  • Orthodontics
  • Surgical gum grafts and guided tissue regeneration

Final Thoughts

Gum recession happens slowly over time. It doesn’t happen overnight although it may seem like it does following treatment for periodontal disease or if you have aggressive periodontal disease. In some instances, heightened awareness of gingival recession may make you think that it is getting worse quickly. 

Gum recession can be prevented by developing oral hygiene that is first class. Brushing the teeth twice a day and cleaning the interdental spaces daily as well as using a Gum Pocket Brush are paramount to your success.

If you have severe gum recession gum grafting procedures may be an option. 

Beat Gum Disease Now

Sources

  1. Patel M, Nixon PJ, Chan MF. Gingival recession: Part 1. Aetiology and non-surgical management. Br Dent J. 2011 Sep 23;211(6):251-4. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2011.764. PMID: 21941318. Available here: https://www.nature.com/articles/sj.bdj.2011.764.pdf?proof=t%25252525C2%25252525A0
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Written by Gareth Edwards

Co-Founder & GDG Dentist

Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS (RCPS Glasgow) is GDG Co-Founder and Gum Disease Expert.

He is a practicing dentist based in Bournemouth, UK and has treated thousands of patients with gum-related diseases.

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