6 Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Gum Disease: What To Look Out For
When bacteria in your mouth start to grow in greater numbers around the gums and below the gumline, they can cause gum (periodontal) disease. This infection and inflammation of the gums can cause a variety of symptoms of periodontal disease as it progresses through its stages.
1. Bad Breath
The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. At this point, bacteria are starting to build up in greater numbers, but no lasting harm has been done. The bacteria metabolize sugar and food particles left behind in your mouth, secreting acid as they do so.
This acid is the same issue that causes tooth decay, which is why frequent brushing is so important to stop bacterial growth. The bacteria also create an unpleasant smell, which is responsible for bad breath. If you have persistent bad breath, then gingivitis is a likely cause.
2. Red, Swollen Gums
As gum disease progresses, it can cause inflammation in the gums. This can lead the gums to become swollen and visibly red. However, other dental issues can lead to swollen gums as well.
If you notice these early symptoms of periodontal disease, the best course of action is to see a dentist as soon as possible. Identifying gum disease early on allows for preventive measures and treatment options to be much more effective in stopping the condition’s progress.
3. Bleeding When Brushing and Flossing
If you notice bleeding when brushing or flossing, then something is wrong. Healthy gums hold up well without issue against brushing and flossing. As the gums become inflamed by gum disease, they can also become weak and prone to bleeding.
Keeping up with regular dental checkups and cleanings can help prevent gum disease from reaching this stage. Cleanings remove the plaque and tartar that build up over time that you can’t reach through regular brushing.
4. Pain When Chewing
Periodontal disease can increase sensitivity in many ways. As the gums start to pull away from the teeth and leave pockets, they can expose the roots. This can greatly increase your sensitivity to various food and drinks, as the roots are much more sensitive than the rest of the tooth.
When gum disease progresses far enough, it can start to affect the tissue around and underneath the teeth. This can lead to soreness in the jaw when chewing, as the teeth can move around more than usual. If you have any pain or soreness when chewing, it could be due to gum disease.
At this point, preventing further progression is very important. Your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing. Scaling is a treatment where your hygienist uses special instruments to remove plaque below the gumline, and root planing smooths the root surface to make it harder for bacteria to take hold in the future.
5. Receding Gums
Gum disease eventually causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and recede. You may be able to visually notice a change in the proportions between your gums and teeth, with the teeth appearing longer.
This is a serious issue, as recession due to periodontal disease creates additional pockets where bacteria can grow. You won’t be able to reach these pockets while brushing, so gum disease can progress much more quickly once this happens.
To deal with advanced gum disease, you may require flap surgery where the gums are cut to clean bacteria lodged deep below the gumline. Once the bacteria are dealt with, gum grafting can restore the appearance of your smile and help reduce the chance of future gum disease.
6. Loose Teeth
Severe gum disease can cause noticeably loose teeth. As the bacteria continue to penetrate deeper, they start to weaken the supporting bone around your teeth. This causes your teeth to loosen, eventually leading to them falling out.
Along with the other treatments used to stem the progression of gum disease, you may also need tooth replacement at this point. Dental implants are one effective option for tooth replacement, with a titanium post implanted into the jawbone to provide support for a crown or other dental prosthesis. Candidacy for dental implants largely depends on the bone density left in the area, so your dentist can advise further if this is a viable solution for you.
Other options to replace teeth lost due to gum disease include dental bridges and partial dentures. Replacing lost teeth is important to prevent other teeth from shifting out of alignment and causing further issues in the future.
Gum Disease Treatment
If you notice any of these signs of gum disease, reach out to Luminous Smiles immediately. We can help prevent and treat gum disease at any stage. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with a Newport Beach dentist and find out which treatment options could be right for you.