To view a detailed interactive video about Symptoms of Periodontal Disease.
It is extremely important to note that periodontal disease can progress without any signs or symptoms such as pain. This is why regular dental checkups are exceptionally important. Described below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease.
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, the advice of a general dentist or periodontist should be sought as soon as possible:
- Bleeding Gums. Bleeding (when brushing, flossing or eating food) is one of the most common symptoms of a periodontal infection. The toxins in plaque cause a bacterial infection that makes the tissues prone to bleeding. Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
- Pain, redness or swelling. Plaque, calculus and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth. A periodontal infection may be present if the gums are swollen, red or painful for no apparent reason. It is essential to halt the progression of the infection before the gum tissue and jawbone have been affected. It is also critical to treat the infection before it is carried into the bloodstream to other areas of the body. Gums should never be red or swollen.
- Receding Gums. New spacing between teeth or longer-looking teeth can be caused by periodontal disease due to gum recession and bone loss. The toxins produced by bacteria can destroy the supporting tissue and bones, thus making the teeth look longer and the smile appear more “toothy”.
- Bad breath/halitosis. Although breath odor can originate from back of the tongue, the lungs and stomach, from the food we consume, or from tobacco use, bad breath may be caused by old food particles that sit between the teeth and underneath the gum line. The deeper gum pockets are able to house more debris and bacteria, causing a foul odor.
- Loose teeth or change in bite pattern. A sign of rapidly progressing periodontal disease is the loosening or shifting of the teeth in the affected area. As the bone tissue gets destroyed, or periodontal fibers weakened (fibers that support the tooth to the bone), teeth that were once firmly attached to the jawbone become loose or may shift in position.
- Pus. Pus oozing from between the teeth is a definitive sign that a periodontal infection is in progress. The pus is a result of the body trying to fight the bacterial infection.
Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination. This type of exam should always be part of your regular dental check-up. A periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters. As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper. Your dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc., to make a diagnosis that will determine the type of periodontal disease you have.