Gum disease, officially called periodontal disease, is a common condition affecting people of all ages. When addressed early it can be easy to treat, but when it goes untreated it can lead to some severe oral health problems. You may have gum disease and not even know it, which is why it helps to learn the signs. Be on the lookout for any of these 10 signs of gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. It can occur when plaque, a sticky film consisting of food residue and bacteria, clings to the teeth along the gum line and sometimes beneath the gums. Plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing or by regular visits to the dentist, can harden into calculus and become more likely to infect the gums. The resulting infection is called periodontal (gum) disease.
10 Common Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Here are 10 of the top signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:
- Red gums. Healthy gum tissue is typically a light pink color. If your gums are red in places or all over, it is a sign of inflammation from gum disease.
- Sore gums. If your gums are sore when you brush, floss, or bite into food, it is a sign that they may be infected.
- Bleeding gums. Infected gums may bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. If you notice a pink tint to your toothpaste when you spit it out, or a larger amount of blood in the sink, you may have gum disease.
- Swollen gums. When the gum tissue is infected it tends to swell up. If your gums look or feel puffy, it may be due to inflammation from gum disease.
- Abscesses. An abscess is a bump that resembles a pimple with a white spot at the center. It is most likely full of puss from the infection and may ooze or bleed.
- Receding gums. Gum disease can cause the gum tissue to pull away, or recede, from the teeth. This exposes more of the roots of the teeth which can make them feel sensitive.
- Bad breath. The high levels of bacteria in the mouth when gum disease is present can result in bad breath that lingers even after brushing.
- Pain when chewing. If you have pain when chewing that is unexplained by other issues, gum disease may be the cause.
- Loose teeth. As gum disease progresses and the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, it can cause them to become loose. Gum disease can also damage the other support structure for the teeth, including the ligaments and jaw bone, which results in loose teeth.
- Loss of teeth. The support structures for the teeth may deteriorate so much from gum disease that some teeth fall out. Once this occurs they may not be able to be saved and will need to be replaced.
Treatment for Gum Disease
There are a variety of treatments for gum disease:
- Scaling and root planing. Scaling is the process of removing calculus from the teeth and the roots under the gums. Root planing smooths the surface of the roots after scaling to allow the gum tissue to attach more securely.
- Osseous (flap) surgery. The dentist may need to cut into the gum tissue to access the roots of the teeth in order to provide treatment. The gum tissue is then sutured back into place.
- Gum grafting. Soft tissue is taken from another place in the mouth and attached to the teeth where gum tissue has receded.
- Soft tissue recontouring. When there is excess gum tissue covering the teeth, it may increase the risk of gum disease. Soft tissue recontouring removes the excess gum tissue.
- Periodontal maintenance. Regular deep cleaning of the teeth can help keep gum at bay. Scaling and root planing is often part of periodontal maintenance.
South Florida Sedation Dentistry Provides Treatment for Gum Disease
Now that you know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of gum disease, you can seek treatment. South Florida Sedation Dentistry can diagnose and treat your gum disease and provide periodontal maintenance on a schedule that suits your needs. We specialize in sedation dentistry to make procedures as comfortable and relaxing as possible.