A progressive condition that occurs in stages, gum disease develops when oral bacteria attack the gums, causing inflammation.
Periodontal disease may present with different symptoms depending on how advanced the condition is. The stage at diagnosis will also influence the treatment plan and intervention recommended by the periodontist, the dental specialist who treats problems with the gums.
The earliest phase of gum disease is gingivitis, which is generally marked by gums that are red or swollen. Patients with gingivitis may also notice some bleeding in the gums when they brush or floss. The gums may also be sensitive, or patients may experience some discomfort along the gumline when gingivitis is present.
Gingivitis generally responds to a non-invasive approach that involves a deep cleaning. However, if gingivitis is not treated promptly, it can evolve into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.
Pockets between the teeth and the gums and/or receding gums often signal periodontitis, and these pockets are cause for concern because bacteria can collect there and do even more damage.
Other symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, caused by the foul-smelling bacteria, and loose teeth.
More advanced forms of gum disease often require invasive measures, such as root planing and scaling. If that technique does not sufficiently reduce the size of the pockets, a surgical procedure known as gum grafting may be needed.
Ideally, you will be able to avoid periodontal disease by seeking routine dental care on a regular basis. If gum disease does occur, seeking treatment from a periodontist will help to limit the damage the condition can do.
After you receive treatment for gum disease, be sure to follow your periodontist’s recommendations for a thorough home oral hygiene routine that will reduce your chances of experiencing a relapse.
Knowing the symptoms of gum disease can help you get early treatment and avoid invasive procedures. Be on the lookout for any signs of a problem and bring them to the attention of our experienced periodontist, Dr. Amit Patel.