How to tell if you have gum disease

Dr. Weingarden:

Gum disease is a silent disease – a chronic disease – similar to high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol. People don’t know they have it unless they are examined for this disease. Occasionally someone may notice blood on their toothbrush or on their floss; some people may notice their gums are swollen. I find that the majority of patients have no awareness that they have this problem unless they are told by their dentist or hygienist that it’s existing.

So, how do we test for this?  A dentist will examine a gap between the gum and the teeth and measure if this gap is too deep, meaning numbers greater than three, four or five, and if there’s bleeding during this exam that generally means that there is damage and there is some infection.

The bad news about this disease is it can be devastating. It can cause tremendous damage left undiagnosed, left untreated. And that can be very expensive for patients to treat, you can have irreversible damage; it can cause tooth loss and great expense.

The great news is that we are very, very capable of treating it and we find that when we do treat it, patients tend to stay healthy for many years.