5 Signs You Have Gum Disease
Gum disease, formally called periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums. It occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens into calculus. The bacteria contained in plaque and calculus infects the gum tissue causing your body to become inflamed, resulting in gum disease.
Gum disease often goes undetected because patients don’t always recognize the symptoms and it may not hurt. Consider the top 5 signs of gum disease and call your periodontist if you notice these or other unusual symptoms.
- Red, swollen, and/or bleeding gums.
Gum disease is an infection of the tissue, which means the typical symptoms of an infection will be present. The gum tissue may be red and swollen due to inflammation and irritation from the bacteria. The toxins released by the bacteria damage the small blood vessels in your gums so that they bleed easily when you brush, floss, or chew. If your gums look red and swollen or if you notice blood in the sink after brushing and flossing, you may have gum disease.
- Sore or tender gums.
Gum disease may cause your gums to be tender, sore, or itch. The swelling and inflammation from the infection will cause the nerves to be particularly sensitive. If you feel pain in your gums when you brush, floss, or chew, you may have gum disease.
- Receding gums.
The presence of gum disease causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth. This condition is called receding gums. If you notice that the gums are receding or that your teeth look longer than usual, it could be due to gum disease. This is not a normal aging process.
- Loose teeth.
When gum disease causes the gum tissue and bone to pull away from the teeth, it leaves them inadequately supported. This can allow your teeth to become loose in their sockets, hurt when you bite into things, and eventually fall out of your mouth.
- Bad breath.
The bacteria responsible for gum disease can cause you to develop bad breath. The bacteria in your mouth become overpopulated as the infection spreads, causing an unpleasant odor that can be noticeable to others, if not yourself. Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth that is not caused by something you ate could be a sign of gum disease.
What To Do If You Have Any Of These Signs
If you are experiencing any of the above signs of gum disease, call your periodontist to schedule an evaluation. Gum disease can be treated, and as with most medical conditions, the sooner it is treated the better the outcome.
Treatment for Gum Disease
There are two different types of treatment for gum disease:
- Non-surgical treatment. The first step in treating gum disease is non-surgical. A deep cleaning of the teeth will be done in the form of scaling and root planing. Scaling is the removal of plaque and calculus from the teeth and roots under the gums. Root planing is the process of smoothing the surface of the roots to allow the gum tissue to reattach more firmly. Regular cleanings can then be scheduled to maintain this result.
- Surgical treatment. When non-surgical treatment is ineffective at treating gum disease, surgical procedures may need to be used. Many different types of surgical options exist, and often a regenerative approach to rebuild lost bone and gum tissue can offer the best long term solution.
Who Treats Gum Disease?
General dentists can treat gum disease in the early stages (gingivitis). However, if the infection becomes more severe, you may need to see a periodontist, a dentist that specializes in treating the support structures for the teeth.
Scott Froum DDS, PC is a periodontist who specializes in the regenerative treatment of gum disease and related conditions. Our practice provides both surgical and nonsurgical treatment according to the severity of your condition. Our periodontal services also include using the latest technology and material to repair the damage caused by gum disease to restore your dental and oral health.
Call 212-751-8530 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.