What Are the Warning Signs of Gum Disease?


Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious condition affecting nearly half of adults over 30, often with devastating impacts on their oral health. At High Street Dentistry, we emphasize the importance of periodontal treatment and management to maintain long-term healthy smiles. You can count on our team for exceptional care and service!

Understanding Gum Disease and Its Causes

Gum disease is a progressive, chronic condition that affects the gums, connective tissues, and bone supporting the teeth. It continues to be the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, more so than even tooth decay. Periodontal disease is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. If plaque is not removed regularly by brushing, flossing, and routine professional teeth cleanings, it can irritate your gum tissues, leading to inflammation. 

Additional contributing factors to gum disease include smoking, misaligned teeth, defective dental restorations, the natural aging process, poor nutrition, and a genetic predisposition. The earlier the condition is treated and managed, the better the outcomes. 

What Are Signs of Gum Disease?

The following are the stages of gum disease and their warning signs:

Gingivitis: This early gum disease stage is typically characterized by red, puffy, and bleeding gums, as well as persistent bad breath. The symptoms can be subtle, and patients don’t usually feel pain, so gum disease often goes unnoticed in its early stages. Prompt treatment and good home oral hygiene can usually reverse gingivitis, restoring your gum health. 

Early Periodontitis: You may start experiencing sore, swollen gums. The gums will begin pulling away from your teeth, creating “periodontal pockets,” which trap plaque and food debris. That provides oral bacteria with an ideal environment to flourish. During this stage, the bone and tissues supporting the teeth may sustain mild damage. 

Moderate Periodontitis: The symptoms will become more severe as the inflammation and infection spread. Patients often experience gum recession, sore and tender gums, and loose teeth as the supporting gums, bone, and periodontal ligaments are slowly eroded. 

Advanced Periodontitis: During this stage, the infection is extensive, affecting the jawbone and causing significant bone loss. Patients usually experience chronic pain, loose teeth, poorly fitting partial dentures, tooth loss, or may need a tooth extraction to prevent further complications. 

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

Once it progresses past the early stages, gum disease cannot be fully cured but can be managed with success. The first line of treatment is a non-surgical deep dental cleaning known as scaling and root planing. We will gently remove any plaque and tartar buildup from and below the gum line. Next, we will clean the tooth root surfaces and smooth them out to promote healing. Most people respond well to scaling and root planing and enjoy improved gum health. 

For some patients, we may recommend topical or oral antibiotics to control the infection. If, however, the condition is in its advanced stages, periodontal surgery may be the only option to prevent further damage to the teeth and gums. 

Periodontal Maintenance

After treatment, we typically recommend periodontal maintenance appointments every three to four months. We will perform a professional dental cleaning, evaluate the health of your gums, and intervene as necessary to keep your gum disease in check. An essential component of a periodontal maintenance plan is meticulous home oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing. 

Gum Disease Treatment Near Me in Jefferson City, MO

Contact High Street Dentistry to learn more about treating and managing periodontal disease. Remember – the best cure for gum disease is to prevent it in the first place, which is why we emphasize the importance of routine dental exams and cleanings. The earlier we detect and address gum inflammation, the better the outcomes. We invite you to call us at (573) 636-7432 to schedule your appointment or request one online today!