Gum (Periodontal) Disease
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of gum disease may include:
- bad breath that won't go away
- red or swollen gums
- tender or bleeding gums
- painful chewing
- loose teeth
- sensitive teeth
- receding gums or longer appearing teeth
If You Have Symptoms
Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem that should be checked by a dentist. Sometimes gum disease has no clear symptoms.
At your dental visit, the dentist or hygienist should
- ask about your medical history to identify any conditions or risk factors (such as smoking) that may contribute to gum disease.
- examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
- use a tiny ruler called a 'probe' to check for and measure any pockets. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters. This test for pocket depth is usually painless.
The dentist or hygienist may also
- take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss and to examine the condition of the teeth and supporting tissues.
- refer you to a periodontist. Periodontists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease and may provide you with treatment options that are not offered by your dentist.