Periodontal disease — aka “gum disease” — is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults in The Woodlands and Conroe. Fortunately, soft tissue therapies and non-surgical laser treatments can help.
But prevention and early diagnosis are always the best steps in treating gum disease. Here are the most common signs and symptoms to look for:
Gums That Bleed When You Brush and Floss
Bleeding isn’t normal for healthy gums. If daily brushing and flossing lead to “pink in the sink” without any improvement after a couple of weeks, it’s likely that your condition is more severe than simple gingivitis.
Gingivitis involves minor redness and swelling along the edges of the gums, while more aggressive gum disease has significantly greater amounts of inflammation and bleeding.
Receding Gumlines (“Long Teeth”)
When gum disease goes untreated, it causes the soft tissues around your teeth to detach from the tooth roots and pull away. Over time, the preceding leads to visibly exposed root surfaces.
You may also notice problems with food getting caught between teeth or under your gums, where developing pockets are becoming more severe.
Halitosis is a touchy topic, but it’s a dead giveaway for chronic gum disease. No amount of brushing or mouth wash can help. You’ll need to see our periodontist in The Woodlands to have the areas deep under your gums cleaned, eliminating the odorous bacterial deposits.
Heavy Tartar Buildup
Within 24 hours, plaque biofilm calcifies into tartar or “calculus” on the tooth surfaces. Over time, these accumulations lead to heavy shelves of tartar along and underneath your gums.
Unfortunately, tartar can’t be cleaned away on your own. The cement-like texture requires careful methods to remove it without damaging the soft gum tissues adjacent to your teeth.
Sore or Loose Teeth
As gums and supporting ligaments start to detach from your teeth, they’ll become noticeably sore when you chew. Tooth mobility is quite common at this point in gum disease progression. If intervention isn’t sought out, the infection will ultimately lead to tooth loss.
A Note if You Smoke
Individuals who smoke (including those that use vaping products) are less likely to experience the typical symptoms of gum disease. Instead, signs of swollen or bleeding gums may be masked, allowing undiagnosed infections to expand deeper under their gums and into the supporting bone.
A Periodontist Can Help
Periodontists are experts when it comes to managing the oral soft tissues affected by gum disease. Utilizing state-of-the-art therapies such as Fontana Twinlight lasers allow us to stop periodontal infections and prevent them from becoming more advanced. These resources aren’t always available in a traditional family dental practice. As such, your dentist may refer you to see a gum specialist like Dr. Saunders if you’re not responding to traditional dental cleanings.
Request an Evaluation
If you’re experiencing any of these gum disease symptoms, early treatment can help you save your smile. Our Houston periodontist has been helping patients enjoy healthier teeth and gums for over 30 years. Request an exam with Dr. Kip Saunders today!