How to Tell if You Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis
Gum disease is a progressive process that begins with poor
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
Some common signs of gum disease include
gums that are red and puffy. Normal gums are pink and firm. You
may also experience:
- Pus Coming From the
Gum Disease Is
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.
care combined with twice a year dental visits can greatly
reduce your chances of developing gum disease. Your smile will
love you for it.