Gum disease is a serious problem in itself. It can lead to difficulty eating and eventually to tooth loss. The gums become infected and germs can travel to other parts of the body, including the heart.
You should see your dentist if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Stubborn bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Red, tender or swollen gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums making the teeth look longer
You should observe the condition of your gums when you brush, checking for inflammation and bleeding so you can catch trouble at an early stage.
The dentist and/or his hygienist will ask for a medical history looking for risk factors such as smoking, or any illness that may contribute to the condition of your gums. A probe will be used to measure the depth of the pockets in your gums which form at the base of your teeth to see the severity of your condition. A normal depth should be from one to three millimeters. More indicates a problem. This procedure is normally painless.