There are mainly two types of gum disease: Periodontitis and Gingivitis. The disease that affects the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth is called periodontal disease. The early stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis and is characterized by redness of the gums, which become inflamed and bleed easily. There is very little discomfort at this stage, but in this case the danger is latent. If it is not in this state, periodontal disease can progress to periodontitis where there is irreversible damage to the gums.
In periodontitis, the most advanced stage of periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the teeth and bone are destroyed. Bags are formed in the gums and they are filled with infection. As the disease progresses, teeth become mobile or loose and eventually can fall or require that they be extracted.
There are many signs of periodontal disease. It is important to visit your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
– Gums bleed when brushing teeth
– Red, swollen or painful gums
– Loose gums, persistent bad breath
– Pus between the teeth and gums
– Loose teeth or they are spreading
– Changes in your bite
– Changes in the adaptation of partial dentures
However, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticing any of these signs. The majority of the people won’t feel any pain due to disease and that often goes unnoticed. For this reason, it is important to request appointments with your dentist and ask for a periodontal evaluation.
As more time remains the plaque and tartar on the teeth, they can do more damage. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums, which is called “gingivitis”. If you have gingivitis, then the gums are red, swollen and bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be cured with brushing and flossing daily, in addition to periodic cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of periodontal disease does not cause loss of the bone or tissue holding the teeth.
The symptoms of gingivitis, gum disease include:
– Constant bad breath
– Red or swollen gums
– Very sensitive gums or that bleed
– Pain when chewing
– Loose teeth
– Sensitive teeth
– Receded gums or teeth that are longer than normal.
Any of these symptoms can be a sign of a serious problem that should be examined by a dentist. When you go to the dentist, the dentist or hygienist must:
– Ask you questions about your medical history to determine if there are other problems or risk factors, such as smoking, that might influence the gum disease.
– Examine your gums to see if there is any sign of inflammation.
– Use a “probe”, which is a kind of very small rule, to determine if there is Periodontal pockets and measure them. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these bags is between 1 and 3 millimeters. This test does not normally cause pain.
The dentist or hygienist also can:
– Make an x-ray to see if there is loss or wear of the bone.
Recommend you to a periodontist. The periodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gums and can give you treatment options not offered by your dentist.