Receding gums can have many negative effects. They can cause your teeth to look too long, and expose the unattractive cementum that makes up the tooth root. Exposing your tooth root also leads to tooth sensitivity.

Although some people may experience receding gums because of gum disease associated with poor oral care or other factors, some may experience gum recession just because of the location of their muscle attachments. In these cases, a frenectomy may prevent receding gums.

How a Frenum Leads to Receding Gums

20141230_095328All muscles have to be anchored in order to perform their tasks. While most muscles are anchored by bones, many muscles are anchored exclusively or partly on soft tissue. This is the case for the muscles of our lips and cheeks, which perform such amazing work making the delicate shapes necessary to speak or to create a certain expression. Some of their attachments are anchored on the gums via frena (the plural of frenum, sometimes call a frenulum), and the location of these anchor points can lead to receding gums.

In the best of all possible configurations, your frena would be anchored so that they wouldn’t interfere with your gums. In some cases though, your frenum may be attached so high that as the muscles of your cheeks and lips flex, they pull the gums in such a way that they can lead them to separate from teeth.

The force from a frenum can also interact with other causes of receding gums. For example, you may initially have a frenum that isn’t a risk to your gums, but a small amount of gum loss due to gum disease or other causes can make gums more vulnerable to damage from the frenum.

Frenectomy and Gum Grafts

When a frenum is contributing to receding gums, a frenectomy is necessary to help stabilize your gums. This won’t affect the function of your muscles, which will work just fine with reduce connection to your gums.

Additional treatments may be recommended to help stabilize your gums, though. Gum disease treatment might be necessary, and if your gums have already receded significantly, gum grafts or other restoration procedures might be recommended.

If you would like to learn whether a frenectomy might be necessary to protect your receding gums, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.