Gingival recession is highly prevalent worldwide. It increases the risk for root caries and can interfere with patient comfort, function and esthetics. Progressive gingival recession also increases the risk of tooth loss secondary to clinical attachment loss. Although mitigating the causes of gingival recession decreases its incidence and severity, implementing practical management and prevention strategies in the clinical setting can be challenging. Identification of susceptible patients and evaluating them for the presence of modifiable risk exposures are essential first steps in developing action plans for appropriate interventions. This article reviews these steps and introduces chairside tools that can help in the selection of interventions designed to reduce the risk of future gingival recession and may also facilitate patient communication. Practical decision-making criteria are proposed for when and how to monitor gingival recession, for deciding when a patient is a candidate for surgical evaluation or referral to a periodontist, and, if surgery is the treatment of choice, what should be considered as key surgical outcome objectives.