Patient perceptions of buccal gingival recessions and requests for treatment

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The aims of this study were to verify patients' perception of buccal recessions and their requests for treatment.


The patients filled out a questionnaire dealing with demographic variables and perception of buccal gingival recessions. A calibrated examiner checked for recessions and recorded the clinical variables. Then, the patients were asked to explain what they believed to be the causes of the recessions and whether they were interested in obtaining treatment of their lesions. Descriptive statistics and multilevel logistic models were used.


Of 120 enrolled patients, 96 presented 783 gingival recessions, of which 565 were unperceived. Of 218 perceived recessions, 160 were asymptomatic, 36 showed dental hypersensitivity, 13 aesthetics, 9 aesthetic + hypersensitivity issues. Only 11 patients requested treatment for their 57 recessions. Younger individuals (p = 0.0077), deeper recessions (p < 0.0001), incisors and canines (p < 0.0001) and non-carious cervical lesions (p = 0.0441) were significantly associated with patient perception of own recessions. Younger subjects (p = 0.0118), deeper recessions (p = 0.0387) and incisors (p = 0.0232) were significantly associated with patient request of treatment.


Four hundred and sixty-eight recessions (60%) were not ascribed to exact causes by the patients.


This study shows that perception of gingival recessions and the patients' requests for treatment should be evaluated carefully before proceeding with decision making.

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