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Gum Disease (cont.)

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What are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?

A person with gingivitis will typically have red, swollen gums that bleed very easily. A bad mouth odor or taste may develop. There could be white spots or plaques on the gums. The person may develop receding gums or areas where the root of the tooth becomes uncovered by the shrinking, diseased gums. Deep pockets may develop around the teeth that trap food, plaque, and debris. If gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, the person may lose gum tissue or bone around the teeth and the teeth may become loose or fall out. These changes can develop very slowly, or may progress rapidly in certain teeth or the entire mouth.

It is possible to have gingivitis and not notice any signs or symptoms, so regular visits to the dentist are vital in diagnosing the disease and taking steps in curing or reversing gum disease.

How is gum disease diagnosed?

The following methods and symptoms are very useful in diagnosing gum disease:

  • Measuring the gums: A dentist or hygienist will use a periodontal probe to measure the depths of the pockets around all of the teeth in the mouth generally once per calendar year. Healthy gums will have pockets 1 to 3 mm deep. Beyond that, the deeper the pockets, the more severe the disease.
  • Taking X-rays: Dental bitewing X-rays will help show the level of the underlying bone and whether any bone has been lost to periodontal disease.
  • Examining sensitive teeth: Teeth that have become sensitive around the gum line may indicate areas of receding gums.
  • Checking the gums: A dentist or hygienist will look for red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/13/2013

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/gum_disease/article.htm

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