Gum Disease (cont.)
Steven B. Horne, DDS
Dr. Steve Horne began his career at Brigham Young University obtaining his BA in English. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 2007 from the University of Southern California where his pursuit for academic excellence landed him on the Dean's List. He was recognized for his superior clinical skills and invited to help teach other dental students in courses on restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, and tooth anatomy. During dental school, he provided dental care for underserved populations of Los Angeles and Orange County, Mexico, and Costa Rica with AYUDA. Following dental school, Dr. Horne entered active duty with the U.S. Army and practiced dentistry at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for four years. During this time, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and received multiple Army Achievement Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, and served as Company Commander. Dr. Horne currently practices full time at Torrey Pines Dental Arts in La Jolla, California, as a general dentist. Dr. Horne is a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Horne is married to his wife, Christy, and they have a chocolate Labrador named Roscoe.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is gum disease (gingivitis)?
- What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontital disease?
- What causes gum disease?
- What are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?
- How is gum disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for gum disease?
- Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for gum disease?
- Can gum disease be reversed?
- Is gum disease associated with other health problems?
- How is gum disease managed in children?
- How is gum disease managed in pregnancy?
- Can gum disease be prevented?
- Is gum disease contagious?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
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.
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