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I've been reading through the results of gum grafts and such after realizing I have very badly receding gums (and I'm only 21). Honestly, they sound pretty awful, and I'm generally rather scared of surgery anyway. I'm also currently completely without any kind of dental insurance, and basically have zero money beyond paying for bills, so if at all possible I'd really like to avoid that.

Looking in the mirror it seems like my gums have receded something like 2mm or so? It looks pretty significant, anyway, and my top two middle teeth have that sort of feeling like I've just been punched in the mouth, where they ache differently than a normal toothache, and are probably just getting slightly loose...

And I'm starting to panic here.

I've had pretty bad dental hygeine up until just recently where I began to brush a lot more, and in the last two or three days since noticing I've been brushing ~3 times a day, flossing, and using mouthwash each time as well. Is there anything I can do to get the gum tissue to not only stop receding but to recover lost ground that doesn't involve a graft? If I keep going as I am will the teeth at least 'tighten' back into place?

I hate to admit it, but it's actually got me kinda panicky.

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Go and see a denitist. Seriously.
I'm 24 and I just had my first gum graft days ago. You've probably read all of the horror stories, but it's worth aching for a while if it means not loosing your teeth.
Your gums wont regenerate on their own, and loose teeth are definitely something to be concerned about. I waited over a year before having my gum recession seen too, and it only got worse over time. I know how you feel, I thought maybe they would get better on their own. I have impeccible oral hygeine, which is what caused my gum recession (over brushing).
You should really consult a doctor before worrying about what procedures you need.

And don't be scared of the surgery, they numb you right out for it. The only downside is pain afterwards (and you can get some pretty decent perscription painkillers).

Good luck :-)
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I just had gum grafts done on 8 areas. I have to say, the shots at the beginning to deaden the area are the worse part. You can't feel anything during the whole procedure. After the feeling starts coming back, your mouth will be sore, but, the pain isn't that bad. Just very sore. You have to be careful not to eat the first day other than soup etc and disturb the grafts. I had many areas done at once, and, gladly will go back to have a couple more areas done. Its not the funnest thing but its not the worse thing either.
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UPDATE
I wrote the post above as a guest on the grafts on 8 areas.
The surgery is a breeze compared to the healing. However, If you only have a couple areas, don't worry about it. You may want to spread them out instead of having them all done at once, like I did. The pain willt last about 4 days but they will give you narcotic pain medication and it helps.
If you are only scared of the surgery and not the pain of healing, you have nothing to worry about.
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