When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a problem, reconstruction using grafting techniques is a viable, common treatment option.
If there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is needed to achieve optimal results. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.
Gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth. When significant, gum recession can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root gouging.