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How can I tell if I have gingivitis or gum disease?

Savannah periodontistGum disease is a common but very preventable cause of tooth loss. It occurs when inflammation develops in the gums. If this inflammation develops into widespread infection, you might require the services of a periodontist. However, if you take good care of your teeth and gums and look out for symptoms of gingivitis, you can avoid more serious infection and eventual tooth loss.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The health of your gums is just as important as the health of your teeth. Without healthy gums, your teeth do not have a stable foundation and can become loose. If you experience any symptoms that could indicate gum disease, you should bring them to the attention of your dentist for further evaluation.

Some symptoms that you might be developing gingivitis or early gum disease include:

  • Redness or shininess in the gum tissue
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath

Your periodontist will also check the health of your gums during your regular visits by using special tools to measure the pockets around your teeth. These pockets are typically one or two millimeters deep. If they are any deeper, it can indicate inflammation is present, and you might need to begin treatment to reverse it.

Treatment for Gum Disease

If you have developed gum disease, you will need to visit a periodontist for treatment. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in problems with the gums. Minor gum inflammation can be treated fairly easily, usually with a baking soda toothpaste or with a prescription mouthwash designed to reduce inflammation. More advanced cases will require more extensive treatment.

The least invasive approach to treating gum disease is a deep cleaning procedure called planing and scaling. Special tools are used to clean tartar buildup beneath the gumline. The tooth roots are also smoothed down to remove rough areas where plaque and tartar can continue to build up. If gum disease is very severe, however, your periodontist might need to perform gum grafting or gum surgery so you can again have healthy gums.

Contact our office today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Duval!