The very first phase of gum disease is gingivitis, which consists of minor redness and swelling along the gumlines. It’s caused by bacterial plaque along your gums, triggering an inflammatory response by your immune system.
Fortunately, gingivitis is easily reversible with thorough dental cleanings, brushing your gums, and daily flossing. But if gingivitis is allowed to go untreated, it will eventually spread deeper into the gum tissues and result in irreversible structural damage.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
During your new patient appointment at Forest Hills Dental, Dr. Gregory Mark and our hygienists will perform an extensive periodontal examination on each tooth. This consists of measuring six key points around every tooth to determine the level at which your gums attach to the roots of your teeth.
We’ll also use digital X-rays to assess the bone height between your teeth. Since gum disease destroys bone structure, it’s crucial to diagnose and treat as early as possible.
Some of the common signs of gum disease that you may notice include:
- Bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth
- Bad breath (it’s ok to tell us!)
- Tooth mobility
- “Long teeth” and receding gumlines
- Food getting stuck between your teeth
- Larger spaces between teeth than you used to have
(Please note that smoking or tobacco use can mask symptoms.)
When you’re here for your exam, Dr. Mark will want to make sure that none of your gum pockets (the space between your gums and tooth, up to where the gums attach) are deeper than 3mm. Anything less than 3mm is considered healthy, but deeper pockets are indicative of disease and bone loss.