The earliest stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, are usually accompanied by red, swollen, bleeding gums. Sometimes, however, this stage is without symptoms and can go unnoticed for quite some time, until more serious stages of gum disease have set in.
If you suspect you may be suffering from gum disease, your dentist will be able to make the appropriate diagnosis.
What Happens if Gum Disease Goes Untreated?
Gum disease is an infection in the gums. As it progresses, becoming periodontitis, bacteria spread below the gum line and begins to infect your teeth and your jawbone. Once this happens, you are faced with receding gums, tooth decay and possibly even tooth loss.
Visual signs of gum disease include redness and swelling. Your dentist will check for these as well as any signs of bleeding.
A sign that gum disease has gotten worse is tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity is due to receding gums. Your dentist can see if your gums have begun to recede, but will also question if you have noticed any pain associated with ingesting very hot or cold foods and beverages.
Measuring Gum Pockets
When your gums are healthy, the pockets surrounding your teeth measure anywhere between one to three millimeters in depth. Pockets deeper than three millimeters are an indication of gum disease, and the deeper they are, the worse the condition.
Another way to diagnose gum disease is through a dental X-ray. X-rays allow your dentist to see areas that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye, including between teeth, below the gum line and your jawbone. With these images, your dentist can check the integrity of your jawbone, checking to see if any mass has been lost to gum disease.
If you suspect gum disease, contact our office today. Diagnosis is the first step to treatment. The exact treatment plan you receive will depend upon the severity of your condition. But once you receive treatment, and continue good oral hygiene at home, you will be well on your way to recovery, and restoring the beauty of your smile.