There are things in this world that you wish would recede forever, never to return (war, heatwaves, a pandemic). There are other things that you don't want to recede, such as your hairline and your gums. Gum recession is typically (although not exclusively) caused by gum disease. Your gums are literally pulling away from the bases of your teeth. How is this going to affect your upcoming dental implant surgery?
Although dental implants can be placed in a patient with receding gums, your dentist will likely be unwilling to do so. Your gum tissues must heal around the base of the implant's prosthetic tooth. This assists with the stability of the implant, while also helping it to look like a natural tooth. Gum recession can expose the base of the tooth, showing where it meets the implant. This will look like a conspicuous piece of metal at the bottom of the tooth, making it obvious that the tooth is prosthetic.
In addition to the aesthetic concerns, a dental implant placed in receding gums may not stand the test of time. As your gums recede, and more of the implant is revealed, a small opening forms at the margin where the prosthetic tooth meets your gums. This allows bacterial contaminants to enter your gums. If the tissues surrounding the implant become infected, the implant's connection to your jaw may be broken. This can lead to implant failure, not to mention the unpleasantness of the infection.
Gum recession will need to be addressed before a dentist feels confident in placing an implant. Gum grafting is the preferred method. Your dentist might perform a free gingival graft, when a small amount of tissue is removed from the roof of your mouth and sutured onto the target site. If there is sufficient gum tissue directly next to the affected site, a lateral pedicle graft can be possible. This involves making an incision in the healthy gum tissue and stretching it over the deficient site, before securing it with sutures.
Reasons for Recession
To prevent the problem from occurring again (which will jeopardize your new implant), your dentist will seek to identify the cause of your gum recession. Your dentist can advise you on the best oral hygiene measures for your particular case, which can help to prevent further gum disease (although this is no excuse to skip your regular dental checkups). Gum recession can also be due to excessive oral hygiene—brushing your teeth so hard that you're actually eroding your gums. If this is the suspected cause, your dentist can advise you on the best toothbrush for your teeth (and how to use it without damaging your gums).
Gum recession must be managed before a dental implant can be placed, which might seem like an inconvenience, but is really the best way forward for the sake of your dental health, and the performance of your new implant.