Warning Signs of Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, often presents in a patient’s mouth in a more insidious fashion than, say, a cavity or a broken tooth. However, it is not true that gum disease has no symptoms. It would be fair to say that the symptoms of gum disease can be quite subtle in the condition’s early phases, when it is easiest to treat.

Understanding the early symptoms of gum disease is key to receiving effective treatment. And if you recognize that your gums may have symptoms indicative of later stages of the disease, it should prompt you to alert your dentist immediately.

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Early and Later Warning Signs Of Gum Disease

  1. Bleeding gums. Healthy gums don’t bleed. This is one of the first signs that bacterial plaque is causing inflammation of your gum tissue.
  2. Bad breath that persists after brushing. Persistent bad breath is another sign of inflammation from bacterial plaque.
  3. Red, tender, or swollen gums. These are more signs of irritation.
  4. Receding gums or teeth that appear “longer” than before. As gum disease progresses, the connective tissue attaching your teeth to your gums can be damaged, and your gums can begin to pull away from your teeth.
  5. Loose teeth. Left untreated, gum disease can damage your connective tissue to such an extent that your teeth are no longer securely attached to the bone in your jaw.

If your dentist confirms that these warning signs are due to gum disease, they may treat the condition with scaling and root planing cleanings, antibiotics, or laser periodontal procedures. Later interventions may include surgery and bone and tissue grafts.

“Make an appointment with your dentist if you notice any of these warning signs,” says Dr. Melanie Bauer, a dentist in practice at Dr. Carol Ford & Associates in central Phoenix. “It’s never too early to treat gum disease.”

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