Using Composite Fillings For Gum Recession

Do you have gum recession that’s exposed your tooth roots causing you pain and sensitivity? Are you concerned about aesthetics, root decay and tooth loss? Composite fillings can offer you a solution. They can be used to cover exposed roots providing a cost-effective, minimally invasive solution with highly esthetic results.  

Gum Recession Explained And Its Causes

Gum recession, or to use its formal name, gingival recession, is when the edge of the gum tissue shrinks or pulls back from the teeth. The teeth appear longer as tooth roots become uncovered

Due to genetics, some people have thin fragile gums which put them at an increased risk of receding gums. Other causes include

  • Periodontal disease
  • Accumulation of plaque
  • Inflammation
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Improper brushing and flossing habits
  • Oral piercings
  • Unstable bite
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Bruxism (tooth grinding)
  • Loss of bone density in the jaw
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes eg menopause (2)

This can have several consequences including

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Root decay
  • Poor aesthetics
  • Food packing

With a prevalence ranging from 37.8% (in the 30–39 age group) to 90.4% (the 80–90 age group), it is a problem affecting all ages to varying degrees and many people search for a solution (1). Composite bonding is one solution.

Using Composite Filling For Receding Gums

Composite Fillings for Gum Recession

Gumline fillings are used to treat receding gums when there is severe regression that’s difficult or impossible to restore.

How Composite Restoration Can Help

Gum-coloured composite resin in conjunction with tooth-coloured composite resin can be used to replace the lost gum tissue and cover the exposed roots. You could think of it as a gumline filling. It looks aesthetically pleasing, is quick to apply, cost-effective and minimally invasive. 

What Are Composite Resins

Composite resin has traditionally been used to place white fillings in cavities at the back of the mouth instead of silver amalgam fillings. This polymer can also be used to close gaps between teeth, repair chipped or cracked teeth and can also be used to cover exposed roots. 

As these resins are available in a range of colours dentists can match the colour of your teeth and your gums. 

Restoration Process

A dentist skilled in aesthetics will begin by selecting or preparing the correct shades of resin so that they closely resemble the natural shades of your gum tissue and your tooth. The surface is roughened and a conditioning liquid is applied. The composite resin is moulded and smoothed so it looks natural alongside your existing gum and teeth. The resin is hardened using a blue light.

Once hardened, the material is shaped and polished to achieve the desired appearance. The whole process usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth. You can walk out of the dental office the same day with a restored smile.

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The Benefits

The main benefit of composite restoration is that it can restore the look of your smile without expensive, invasive or unpredictable treatments. It’s also a quick and cost-effective way to improve your smile.

As they are available in a range of colours they can be closely matched to the natural shades of your gum tissue and tooth enamel. It’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing ways to restore gum tissue.

How Long Do They Last?

With proper care, high-quality composite resins put along the gumline can last for many years. They may need replacing after 5-7 years – the material absorbs moisture and starts to stain. But it’s a simple procedure to repair or replace them.

Is The Procedure painful?

No, the procedure is not painful. There is often no needles and no drilling required.

What to Expect After the Procedure?

After the procedure, you can expect to see a transformed smile. You will be able to see the esthetic results of having the gum tissue replaced – it alters the appearance of the front teeth as a whole.

You can also expect no more exposed roots, little tooth sensitivity or pain and you will be able to eat and drink what you like.

The Alternatives

If a composite filling isn’t for you, there are several other ways that gum recession can be managed, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Treatment options include

  • Gingival grafting – is more expensive and invasive.  Read our post on grafting vs bonding to find out which is best.
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Acrylics (denture base material)
  • Silicone-based soft materials

Preventing Gum Recession

You can prevent gum recession from recurring again in the area or on other teeth by taking these simple steps.

  • Visit the dental office every six months or as advised by the dentist for an examination and professional clean
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Eat a balanced nutrient-rich diet
  • Remove oral piercings
  • Brush the teeth gently twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean the interdental spaces with a Gum Pocket Brush, floss or interdental brushes. It’s important to use the correct technique so you don’t damage the gum but gently disrupt the plaque each day.
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  1. Paryag, A. A., Rafeek, R. N., Mankee, M. S., & Lowe, J. (2016). Exploring the versatility of gingiva-colored composite. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry, 8, 63-69. Available at:
  2. How Hormonal Imbalance Can Cause a Receding Gum Line | Menopause Now
  3. Jati, A. S., Furquim, L. Z., & Consolaro, A. (2016). Gingival recession: its causes and types, and the importance of orthodontic treatment. Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics, 21(3), 18-29. Available here :
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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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