Receding gums are bad news. Whether caused by periodontitis, lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcoholism, or just a dryness of the mouth, it endangers the health of your teeth by exposing the cementum - which is prone to decay and lacks enamel - to the open air. It is also a problem for dental implants, whether you are thinking of getting some or already have a few, as the tiny titanium screws can become exposed and fail. Here is what you need to know if you have receding gums.
If you are battling gum recession, you can still get dental implants. But whatever is causing the gum recession needs to be handled first, otherwise, you risk dental implant failure. The reason is because the gums insulate and grow over the dental implant, but if the implant is exposed, it may break or move during loading. Usually, periodontitis is the cause of gum recession, which can usually be cured with a deep cleaning hygiene session, some antibiotics or oral surgery if it is a particularly severe case. Most periodontitis goes away with just antibiotics though, but frequently some dental work, like a filling or a root canal is also necessary.
But if you already have dental implants, gum recession can also be a problem. The already stable implants can become unstable, because their covering will be gone, and the pressure of loading might make them mobile. This is a problem because it can lead to peri-implantitis: a condition in which the softer bones and gums around the dental implant are worn away by the much harder titanium of the dental implant. Although the dental implant is primarily rooted in the jawbone, a lack of gums will cause problems, even if at first they may be entirely unnoticeable. Peri-implantitis is a problem that grows and grows for years; at first the movement is imperceptible, but gradually more and more of the soft tissues go missing, and then the dental implant becomes wobbly. By that point re-implantation is necessary.
If you have dental implants that are beginning to show, or if the abutment is starting to show because of a receding gum line, contact your dentist immediately and see what can be done to reverse the process. Know that this may take a change of lifestyle, or oral surgery, but usually can be done with a quick course of antibiotics and a hygiene session.