Treatment of Gingival Recession: When and How?

Int Dent J. 2021 Jun;71(3):178-187. doi: 10.1111/idj.12617. Epub 2021 Jan 29.


Gingival recession is a common finding in daily clinical practice. Several issues may be associated with the apical shift of the gingival margin such as dentine hypersensitivity, root caries, non-carious cervical lesions (NCCLs), and compromised aesthetics. The first step in an effective management and prevention program is to identify susceptibility factors and modifiable conditions associated with gingival recession. Non-surgical treatment options for gingival recession defects include establishment of optimal plaque control, removal of overhanging subgingival restorations, behaviour change interventions, and use of desensitising agents. In cases where a surgical approach is indicated, coronally advanced flap and tunnelling procedures combined with a connective tissue graft are considered the most predictable treatment options for single and multiple recession defects. If there is a contraindication for harvesting a connective tissue graft from the palate or the patient wants to avoid a donor site surgery, adjunctive use of acellular dermal matrices, collagen matrices, and/or enamel matrix derivatives can be a valuable treatment alternative. For gingival recession defects associated with NCCLs a combined restorative-surgical approach can provide favourable clinical outcomes. If a patient refuses a surgical intervention or there are other contraindications for an invasive approach, gingival conditions should be maintained with preventive measures. This paper gives a concise review on when and how to treat gingival recession defects.

Keywords: Gingival recession; Mucogingival surgery; Soft tissue management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acellular Dermis*
  • Connective Tissue
  • Gingiva
  • Gingival Recession* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Treatment Outcome