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How to Tell if You Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis



Gum disease is a progressive process that begins with poor oral care.

poor dental habits ---> tartar build-up ---> gingivitis (mild inflammation of the gums) ---> periodontitis (severe infection of gums and tissues supporting teeth) ---> increased risk of premature births, heart disease, and stroke

Not only is gum disease the number one cause of tooth loss in adults, but gum disease can also cause other serious health problems. Consequently, identifying gum disease early can prevent serious complications.Gingivitis

Some common signs of gum disease include gums that are red and puffy. Normal gums are pink and firm. You may also experience:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad Breath
  • Loose Teeth
  • Pus Coming From the Gums

Gum Disease Is Often Undetectable

Gum disease is often "silent". While you may experience the signs of gum disease mentioned above, in many cases you will not see any visible changes until the gum disease has caused serious damage to teeth, gums, and supporting structures. Because of this, it is crucial that you see your dentist at least once a year. She can usually detect gum disease long before you can.

How Your Dentist Detects Gum Disease

Your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your mouth. She will detect areas where tartar has formed on teeth. Tartar leads to the first stage of gum disease called gingivitis. You can not brush away tartar, but your dentist can physically scrape it off your teeth using special instruments.

Your dentist will also probe your periodontal pocket depth to help detect gum disease. Normally, a small 1-3 mm space exists between your gums and teeth. This space is known as the periodontal pocket. In the more advanced stages of gum disease, the inflamed gums will pull away from the teeth causing this pocket to deepen. Your dentist can measure how deep your periodontal pockets are to see if you have gum disease and how advanced it is.

Your dentist may also use x-rays to determine if the jawbone (which holds your teeth in place) has been damaged by gum disease.

Good oral care combined with twice a year dental visits can greatly reduce your chances of developing gum disease. Your smile will love you for it.

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