Recession is when you notice the gum tissue disappearing on the roots of your teeth, and this indicates that the teeth are losing bone underneath the gum as well, since it is the jaw bone that holds the teeth in place, with the gum providing the protective covering over the supporting bone. Gum is referred to as attached gingiva, and is normally stronger than cheek (mucosa) tissue in rest of the the mouth. Sometimes exposed roots are sensitive, but not always.
Recession occurs even in children, as well as all ages, and can sometimes be related to the position of the tooth as it erupted into the mouth into weak non-gingival tissue called mucosa.
Causes of recession can include orthodontic positioning of a tooth that has only weak (mucosa) type tissue, rather than attached gingiva. The more common cause is due to aggressive tooth brushing, with a medium or hard brush, which wears away the gingiva, leaving weak mucosa tissue behind. When only weak mucosa tissue remains on the tooth, even using a soft brushing technique will still lead to more recession. Once recession starts and when there is no more attached gingiva for support, recession will continue to get worse, and coupled with loss of bone, teeth become jeopardized over time. Other causes are tongue rings, and dipping snuff, among other numerous traumatic habits.
Treatment for recession
Usually requires grafting of gum tissue taken from the palate in the mouth and transferring this stronger tissue to the specific teeth that present with recession to replace the weak tissue, in order to stop the progression of future receding gum and bone support. This is sometimes done for cosmetics if feasible, although many times primarily done to gain stronger attached gum support for teeth, without necessarily needing or being able to cover roots.