One of the challenges that we face as dentists and dental hygienists is the fact that many dental conditions are asymptomatic in the early stages. The word “asymptomatic” means that they don’t cause any symptoms that are noticeable, particularly to the patient. One of the most pernicious dental diseases that fit this description is gum disease, which can turn into periodontitis and eventually lead to crooked, loose, or failed teeth.
Dental professionals have expert training in identifying signs of trouble before something goes wrong, which is why it’s so important to see us for your regular checkups and cleanings. In the meantime, you can make a huge difference in your own dental health by being on the lookout for gum disease warning signs before they become symptoms.
A lot of people see a little blood when they floss or brush. This is very common, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal! Any blood when you brush or floss can be a sign of trouble, even if you don’t have any other symptoms such as swelling or discomfort.
If you notice that your teeth seem to look longer than they used to, you may have gum recession. Receding gums is one of the early signs of gum disease, which is caused by an infection of the tissues around your teeth, your gums and your bone. As the infection progresses it forms a pocket that pulls your gums away from your teeth. Eventually, the roots of your teeth, which aren’t protected by enamel, can become exposed, causing sensitivity and leaving them vulnerable to further damage from cavities.
Gums can get puffy and inflamed during the early stages of gum disease without necessarily causing discomfort. The good news is this sign can appear when you still just have gingivitis that hasn’t turned into periodontitis yet.
If you notice any of these signs, please let us know as soon as possible. Gum disease is reversible in its early stages, but once it progresses into periodontitis it becomes a chronic disease that can only be managed, not cured.
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