Gum disease 一 also known as periodontal disease 一 refers to a gum infection. But unfortunately, gum disease doesn’t just affect your gums. Untreated gum disease can compromise the integrity of your jawbone, increase your risk of tooth loss, and even affect your cardiovascular health.
The best way to reduce your risk of developing these complications of gum disease is to seek treatment the moment you first see evidence of gum disease. Kevin Miller, DDS, encourages you to visit Dentistry in Paradise in Santa Barbara, California, if you spot these five potential signs of periodontal disease.
5 signs of gum disease
Gum disease develops slowly, so it’s important to learn how to identify the key signs at each progression point of the disease, starting with gingivitis.
1. Bleeding gums
Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first — and easiest to treat — stage of gum disease.
When plaque builds up, it irritates your gingiva, the area of gums near the base of your teeth. This irritation causes inflammation, and something as simple as brushing your teeth can make your gums bleed. You might also notice that your gums appear inflamed or more red than usual.
2. Periodontal pockets
If gingivitis goes untreated, your gums become more irritated. In addition to bleeding, your gums may start to pull away from your teeth. This can form periodontal pockets, and larger pockets can harbor infection-causing bacteria.
Healthy teeth and gums hold together snugly, and a normal pocket is small, measuring only 1 to 3 millimeters. If you have early-stage gum disease, your pocket might be 4-5mm. Moderate gum disease can cause 5-7mm, while advanced gum disease pockets can measure 7-12mm.
3. Your gum line is receding
Gum tissue is delicate, and if gum disease continues untreated, it can lead to gum recession. This happens when your gum tissue continues to pull back, exposing more of your teeth. This can pose cosmetic concerns, but it also increases your risk of developing more serious complications if your tooth roots become exposed.
4. Loose teeth
As gum disease continues, it can affect your jawbone, leading to tooth loss. Gum disease affects 2 out of 5 adults and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
5. You see an abscess
When deep periodontal pockets form, bacteria, pus, and tartar can accumulate in the pocket. If the infection can’t drain, a periodontal abscess forms. These abscesses look like a pimple on your gums, and the bump is filled with infected pus material.
Exploring gum disease treatment options
There’s no denying that gum disease is serious, but the good news is that once you learn to identify these potential signs of gum disease, you can seek dental care promptly. Swift dental care can help reduce your risk of serious complications.
Treatments vary depending on the severity of your gum disease and which symptoms you’re experiencing. Options include:
- Deep cleaning
- Prescription mouthwash
- Scaling and root planing
- Antibiotics and root canal (for abscesses)
Because gum disease prevention and treatment is important to your overall oral health, Dr. Miller always looks for signs of gum disease during each routine cleaning, but if you notice these five signs in between appointments, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Our team is happy to answer any questions you have regarding gum disease treatment options. Book your next appointment at Dentistry in Paradise by calling 805-967-0272. You can also request an appointment online.