Gum disease is incredibly common. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly half of adults in the U.S suffer from some form of the condition. While the symptoms of periodontal disease are recognizable, they often do not cause pain or discomfort until the condition is advanced stages. Recognizing these symptoms is exponentially important for the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. Fortunately, Dr. Gerald Regni provides periodontal care at our Philadelphia, PA, practice so our patients can achieve and maintain healthy smiles.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis. This condition is characterized by:
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
If gum disease is detected during this early phase, treatment is typically quite simple and effective. In fact, most of the time, patients only require a dental cleaning and a few improvements to their at-home oral hygiene regimen.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it will progress into periodontitis. At this stage, symptoms may include:
- Bright red gums
- Gums that are sore to the touch
- Spacing between the teeth
- Pus or drainage in the gums
Periodontitis is more challenging to treat because the infection in the gums has now worked its way deep into the gum line. The bacteria form pockets around the roots of the teeth and will eventually begin to erode the underlying bone. This condition is typically addressed with non-surgical treatments, such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). During this process, the clinician administers local anesthesia so they can clean deep beneath the gum line.
Advanced Periodontitis Symptoms
When periodontitis continues on unaddressed, it will worsen, resulting in advanced periodontal disease. This final phase of gum disease can wreak havoc on your oral and overall health. Symptoms may include:
- Severely swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Bone loss around the teeth
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Tooth loss
Advanced periodontitis usually requires complex, extensive surgical intervention.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Lifestyle habits can directly affect your periodontal health. Because gum disease is a response to the accumulation of plaque and oral bacteria, it is important to develop an excellent oral hygiene regimen, including professional dental cleanings and at-home care.
There is also a significant genetic factor for gum disease. Some people react more severely to the plaque deposits on their teeth. Therefore, while many patients can maintain healthy teeth and gums with six-month dental cleanings, those prone to gum disease may require more frequent visits. Unfortunately, your body’s response to bacteria is simply in your DNA. If you are currently predisposed to developing gum disease, you probably always will be. However, through proper personalized treatments, we can successfully minimize your risk.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you are experiencing any symptoms of periodontal disease, it is important to schedule a consultation right away. Being proactive with your gum health now can prevent more serious problems in the future. You can contact us online anytime to set up an appointment.