Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can have major consequences for your smile when it is left untreated. Therefore, patients should monitor their gums for symptoms that indicate the presence of the inflammation associated with gum disease. Here are four primary signs that are cause for concern and warrant an evaluation by a periodontist, a specialist who has extensive knowledge and experience in treating gum disease.
- Bleeding, swollen or red gums: All of these symptoms suggest the presence of some inflammation in the gum tissue, which is typically gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease.
- Pockets between the gums and the teeth: As gum disease advances, the gum tissue will begin to pull away from their attachment point to the tooth.
- Gum recession: Patients may also notice significant “shrinking” of the gums or that their teeth appear longer as another effect of gum disease.
- Increased tooth sensitivity: As the gums recede, the underlying roots of the teeth are exposed, which can cause sensitivity and discomfort.
When gum disease is detected in its earliest stages, it responds well to treatment, which often can be accomplished with non-invasive measures. Therefore, patients are strongly encouraged to see a periodontist as soon as they notice a potential symptom of gum disease.
In diagnosing gum disease, the periodontist will inspect your gums and take a detailed medical and lifestyle history, which can point to some additional risk factors for this condition. Any pockets in the gums will be probed to determine their depth, and digital x-rays may be taken as well.
The recommended treatment will be based on the stage of gum disease at diagnosis. But even after treatment is completed, the patient still must be monitored for the condition. After an initial episode of periodontal disease, patients should continue to follow up with their provider as recommended to reduce their risk of a relapse.
Gum disease is a common condition, affecting almost half of patients over age 30. Because this condition has the potential to seriously damage your smile, you should be alert to its signs and symptoms. If you have any concerns about your gum health, call PerioNYC to schedule a consultation with one of our expert practitioners.