Do gums grow back after scaling?

The short answer is yes, gums can grow back after scaling. Scaling, also known as a dental deep cleaning, is a procedure where plaque and tartar are removed from teeth and beneath the gumline. This procedure can cause some recession of the gums, but with proper oral care, the gums should regrow and reattach over time.

What happens during scaling?

During a scaling, a dental hygienist will use metal tools called scalers and curettes to remove plaque, tartar and calculus from the tooth surfaces above and below the gumline. This helps remove bacteria and deposits that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. The tools are used to scrape the teeth and just below the gums.

This process can irritate the gums and make them pull back slightly from the teeth. In some cases, this recession is only temporary. But if the gum disease is more advanced, such as in periodontitis, scaling may worsen the gum recession.

Why might gums recede after scaling?

There are a few reasons why gum recession might occur or be made worse by scaling:

  • Removal of diseased gum tissue: Some receded areas of gum may already be diseased and need to be removed during scaling.
  • Irritation from scraping: The scraping motion can irritate the gums, causing swelling and recession.
  • Underlying gum disease: If there is periodontitis or advanced gingivitis, the gums are already weakened and more likely to recede from scaling.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Pre-existing plaque and tartar buildup leading to the need for scaling can contribute to receding gums.
  • Natural variations: Some people naturally have thinner gum tissue that is more prone to recede after procedures.

Do gums grow back after scaling and why?

In most cases, gums will grow back and reattach after they have receded from scaling. This happens because of the body’s natural healing ability. Here is why gums can grow back:

  • Removal of bacteria: Scaling removes tartar and plaque from beneath the gums, getting rid of bacteria irritating the gum tissue.
  • Reduced inflammation: With the irritants gone, inflammation in the gums can subside, allowing the gums to reattach.
  • Improved oral hygiene: Scaling enables better plaque control through daily brushing and flossing.
  • Gum regeneration: Gums have an inherent ability to regenerate tissue and reattach to the teeth.
  • Professional treatment: Dentists can provide follow-up procedures and treatments to encourage gum regrowth.

As the gums heal after scaling, the increased blood flow and cell activity allow the gums to fill back in around the teeth. Proper oral hygiene is vital to allow gums to heal and grow back instead of continuing to recede after scaling.

How long does it take for gums to grow back?

On average, it takes between 1 and 6 months for gums to grow back and reattach after recession from scaling. However, the timeline can vary based on:

  • Severity of gum recession: Mild recession often resolves within 1-2 months. More significant recession can take 4-6 months to improve.
  • Oral hygiene: Excellent oral care promotes faster gum regrowth. Poor hygiene leads to slower, less complete regrowth.
  • Overall health: General health impacts healing ability. Illnesses like diabetes slow gum regrowth.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco hamper blood flow and cell growth, delaying gum regrowth.
  • Technique of scaling: A very aggressive scaling removing a lot of gum tissue may require longer healing time.
  • Use of medications: Some drugs like oral contraceptives, anti-depressants and heart medications increase gum recession risk.
  • Genetic factors: Some people are naturally prone to thinner gums and extensive recession.

Follow up with your dentist after scaling to monitor gum regrowth. If needed, additional procedures can be done to encourage gum regrowth after the initial healing takes place.

Signs gums are growing back after scaling

Here are some signs to look for to indicate your gums are growing back and reattaching after scaling:

  • Gum swelling goes down.
  • Gums feel less sensitive.
  • Gums look less red or inflamed.
  • Black triangular spaces between teeth start to fill in.
  • Gum pockets get shallower.
  • Gums tighten back up around the base of the teeth.
  • You need less floss to clean between teeth.
  • Gums bleed less with regular brushing.

These are positive indications the gums are regrowing and regaining their healthy attachment after being affected by scaling. See your dentist regularly to track your gum health. Improving gum recession can take months and require multiple scaling sessions and continued care.

Can receded gums grow back completely?

If caught early, gum recession can often grow back completely. However in more severe cases, the gums may only partially grow back. Here are some factors that determine how much regrowth is possible:

  • Stage of gum disease: Gums recede progressively in stages. Early stages allow for nearly full regrowth. Advanced disease limits regrowth.
  • Amount of bone loss: Loss of the bone supporting the teeth restricts gum regrowth. Mild bone loss enables nearly complete regrowth.
  • Underlying conditions: Diabetes, hormonal changes, certain medications, and genetic traits can limit gum regrowth.
  • Smoking: Long term smoking typically prevents the gums from growing back fully.
  • Oral hygiene: Poor hygiene may prevent the gums from reattaching completely. Excellent care promotes fuller regrowth.
  • Age: Younger individuals have better gum regrowth potential than older individuals.
  • Treatment: Regenerative therapies like gum grafts can allow more complete gum regrowth.

The potential for gums to grow back decreases as the condition advances. Get treatment early for the best chance of your gums reattaching fully.

What promotes gum regrowth after scaling?

Certain actions can speed up gum regrowth and reattachment after they have receded due to scaling. Ways to promote gum regrowth include:

  • Maintaining excellent oral hygiene: Brushing and flossing thoroughly supports gum health.
  • Quitting smoking: Smoking severely impacts gum regrowth.
  • Managing health conditions: Control diseases like diabetes that increase gum problems.
  • Getting regular dental cleanings: Consistent professional cleanings protect gum health.
  • Using antiseptic rinses: Rinses with chlorhexidine aid gum healing.
  • Following a healthy diet: Eat plenty of vitamins C and E and limit sugar.
  • Taking supplements: Vitamin C, CoQ10 and omega-3 supplements support gum regrowth.
  • Applying topical ointments: Prescription ointments promote gum cell regrowth.
  • Getting follow up procedures: Further scaling or gum grafts may encourage reattachment.

Be diligent with at-home oral hygiene, follow your dentist’s recommendations, and maintain your overall health to optimize gum regrowth potential.

Can gums reattach without surgery?

Yes, in many mild to moderate cases of gum recession, gums can reattach and grow back without the need for surgery. Here’s how non-surgical regrowth is possible:

  • Early treatment: Treating gum recession when it first starts enables the gums to regrow more easily without surgery.
  • Good oral hygiene: Keeping the teeth clean allows gums to heal and reattach on their own.
  • Time: Given enough time (usually several months), gums can naturally reattach with proper oral care.
  • Prescription ointments: Special medicated ointments applied to receded gums encourage regrowth.
  • Follow up scaling: Additional gentle scaling rounds can continually re-stimulate gum regrowth.
  • Antimicrobial rinses: Using medicated rinses supports gum healing.
  • Occlusal adjustment: Adjusting the bite can reduce excess forces on receded gums.

However, if gum recession is extensive or there is substantial loss of gum and bone tissue, surgical procedures like gum grafting may be necessary for gums to reattach.

Tips for gum regrowth after scaling

Here are some helpful tips to promote gum regrowth and reattachment after gum recession from scaling:

  • Brush gently with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Floss once daily, but gently in areas of gum recession.
  • Rinse daily with antimicrobial mouthrinse like one containing chlorhexidine.
  • Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco as they irritate gums and prevent healing.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and promote healing.
  • Limit drinks with acids and sugars that can irritate the gums.
  • Have any defective restorations replaced that may be irritating the gums.
  • Follow up as directed with your dentist to monitor gum regrowth.

Be patient through the gum healing process. It can take months for your gums to grow back and reattach after being affected by scaling. But with proper daily care and any needed follow up treatments, you can help your gums regrow.

When to see a dentist after gum recession

It’s important to follow up with your dentist after experiencing gum recession. See a dentist promptly if you notice:

  • Gums remain receded after 6 months post-scaling
  • Increasing sensitivity in teeth from gum loss
  • Ongoing bleeding from gums
  • Deepening pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loosening or shifting teeth due to gum loss
  • Exposed tooth roots due to gum recession
  • Tooth pain or abscesses along the gumline
  • Sores, patches or color changes in receded gums

Severe, ongoing or quickly worsening gum recession should be evaluated promptly. Your dentist can assess if further treatment is needed, like gum grafting surgery, to help regrow and reattach receded gums.

Can receded gums affect your teeth?

Gum recession can negatively impact the health and appearance of teeth. Effects of receding gums include:

  • Tooth sensitivity: Gum loss exposes the tooth roots and makes teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks.
  • Cavities: Exposed roots are more prone to unchecked decay.
  • Abscesses: Gum recession allows bacteria to enter around the base of teeth, potentially forming abscesses.
  • Tooth mobility: Lack of gum attachment makes teeth loosen in their sockets.
  • Tooth loss: Severely loosened teeth may eventually need to be extracted.
  • Erosion: More exposed root surface leads to increased erosion by acidic foods.
  • Aesthetics: More visible tooth roots look longer and can create a “toothy” smile.

Receding gums diminish the support structure for teeth. Getting gums to regrow and reattach helps restore tooth stability and function.

When is gum grafting needed?

If nonsurgical options are unable to get your gums to regrow, your dentist may recommend gum grafting surgery. Reasons gum grafting may be needed include:

  • Deep gum recession: More than 3-4mm of gum loss may require grafting for coverage.
  • Exposed tooth roots: Grafts can cover exposed root surfaces.
  • Ongoing sensitivity: Grafts protect sensitive root surfaces.
  • Extensive loss of gum: Large areas of gum loss may necessitate grafts.
  • Little gum regrowth: Minimal natural gum regrowth after 6 months may indicate grafting.
  • Rapidly worsening: Quickly advancing gum recession often needs surgical treatment.

Gum grafting replaces lost gum tissue and covers exposed roots to help prevent further gum recession. This surgery is very effective for regrowing gum tissue in areas too severe for nonsurgical regrowth.


Gums that have receded due to scaling can often regrow and reattach around the teeth. Proper oral hygiene, healthy lifestyle habits, following your dentist’s advice, and allowing time for natural healing enable gum regrowth for many people. Mild to moderate gum recession can rebound with nonsurgical treatments. More advanced cases may require gum grafting surgery. By keeping up with professional dental cleanings and maintaining excellent daily care, you can help your gums regrow and keep your smile healthy.

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