Most people have heard of gum recession; even if you haven't, it's pretty easy to understand that gum recession involves the pulling away of the gums, which exposes more of the tooth. It's a relatively common dental problem, but the fact that recession tends to occur very gradually means that most people don't even notice it occurring until the problem has become quite serious.

The most immediate issue surrounding gum recession is aesthetic. Most people simply dislike the way their teeth look when the gums have receded. However, this is far from the only issue – here are just three serious dental problems that can occur as a result of gum recession.

1. Increased Risk of Tooth Decay

With more of the tooth surface exposed, it should come as no surprise to learn that gum recession can put you at increased risk of tooth decay. In fact, the problem is even worse than you might imagine; it isn't just that more tooth surface is exposed, it's the type of tooth surface that is exposed. The area above the gum line is covered with enamel, which is the toughest substance the body creates. However, the lower sections are covered in cementum, which is a softer material that adheres to tissue more easily than enamel. Cementum decays far more readily, and those root sections are a lot harder to replace with fillings since they tend to be a lot thinner.

2. Progression of Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the most common causes of gum recession. Unfortunately, the gums become less and less able to defend themselves as they recede, which means that the problem is likely to spread and become more serious. In fact, it's relatively common for gum disease to spread to the underlying bone. This can necessitate very intensive and expensive dental work, and the possible bone and tooth loss could seriously affect your oral health for the rest of your life.  

3. Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity isn't quite as serious as gum disease and tooth decay, but it's still a major complication of gum recession. Without your gums there to provide protection, it's likely that the roots of your teeth will be extremely sensitive, turning a pleasant sip of coffee or spoonful of ice cream into torture more than treat. Since the lower tooth surfaces are not meant to put up with such temperature changes without the gums around them, it's very hard to correct this problem.

For more information, contact a local dental clinic.