Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States, and nearly 47.2% of people aged 30 years old and older have some stage of periodontal disease. At Massa Dental Center, we believe the key to a healthy smile is preventive dentistry and treating problems in their earliest stages. Preventive dentistry for your family and early treatments reduce your risk for both tooth loss and bone loss.

To prevent gum disease from damaging your oral health, knowing the warning signs of its early stages can help you get treatment early.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the area around your teeth. That’s why it’s also called periodontal disease: “perio” means “around,” and “dont” means tooth. As with any infection, some symptoms come from the bacteria causing the infection, and some come from your body’s response to the bacteria. 

Early gum disease is known as gingivitis. It’s not very severe and can be managed with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Many people have gingivitis all their lives and never see it worsen. 

More severe gum disease is called periodontitis, which causes tooth loss and some of the more severe health effects associated with gum disease. 

If you have just the first three symptoms in the list below, you have gingivitis, but once you develop symptoms four through eight, you have periodontitis. 

If you notice any of the following signs, contact our Naples dental office for a consultation.

1. Bleeding Gums

One of the first signs you need gum disease treatment will happen when you’re brushing your teeth or chewing on a snack. You might experience a metallic taste in your mouth only to realize your gums are bleeding. Bleeding gums can indicate that you’re brushing or flossing too hard but can also be a symptom of gingivitis. Your gums bleed when you have gingivitis because they become inflamed and more sensitive. That means just brushing and flossing, as usual, can irritate and cause them to bleed.

Gums that bleed spontaneously might indicate that you have periodontitis.

2. Red, Swollen, or Inflamed Gums

When plaque and tartar build up along the gum line, it will lead to inflammation. With the inflammation, you might notice your gums look red or swollen and feel tender to the touch. Brushing and flossing might feel uncomfortable or even painful. You might see these signs of gum disease before the bleeding gums; it depends on how much attention you pay to your gums.

3. Bad Breath

As plaque and bacteria build up on your teeth, it can give you smelly breath. This is because some bacteria are stinky! If you don’t believe us, next time you floss, sniff your floss to see what we’re talking about. Imagine millions of bacteria that smell like that built up along your gum line. Since gum disease creates pockets where bacteria can hide, it will cause your breath to smell no matter how much you brush your teeth. The only way to resolve your bad breath is with help from your Naples dentist, usually with a professional dental cleaning or scaling and root planing (deep cleaning).

4. Receding Gums

Another sign of gum disease you might experience is receding gums. Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue begins to pull away from the tooth and expose more of the tooth, including the tooth root. It can make your teeth look longer and feel more sensitive when exposed to hot or cold temperatures or sweets. As gum recession occurs, it makes it easier for bacteria to build up. This bacteria will continue to destroy gum tissue and the bone responsible for holding your teeth in place.

5. Tooth Sensitivity

With gum recession comes the exposure of the tooth root. This area of your tooth is much more sensitive and will cause sharp pain when exposed to hot or cold temperatures from food, drinks, or air. Sweets can also cause sensitivity because they trigger the release of acids from oral bacteria. If you have highly sensitive teeth, you might have gum disease.

6. Pus Between Teeth

As gum disease progresses, it can form abscesses between your teeth. An abscess resembles a small red ball that looks like it’s pushing out of swollen gums. Inside this red ball is pus. Abscesses can burst at any time, releasing what is often a foul-tasting discharge into your mouth. They can feel incredibly painful, and the infection can cause you to experience a fever. Without antibiotic treatment, the abscess can cause long-term damage to your gums and teeth. Infections can also spread from your gums to other areas of the body.

7. Changes in Bite

If your teeth no longer come together like they used to, this could result from untreated gum disease. As the disease progresses, it can cause teeth to become loose and shift in your mouth. Teeth are loosening because of attacks on the ligaments and bones that hold your teeth in place. Bacteria attack these bones to make more room for themselves, but the body can also attack the bone as it takes a “no-holds-barred” approach to fighting the worsening infection.

8. Loose Teeth

It’s never a good sign if your teeth are loose unless you still have baby teeth. As your gum disease progresses, your teeth will become looser and potentially fall out if you don’t seek treatment.

Benefits of Laser Gum Treatment

For 25 years, the Massa Dental Center has led the industry with high-tech dental treatments. We are proud to offer laser gum treatment, which we use for cosmetic gum reshaping and gum disease treatment. 

Laser gum treatment is beneficial because it:

  • It doesn’t cause as much anxiety
  • Causes less discomfort
  • Causes less bleeding
  • Is faster
  • It helps sterilize gum pockets

Traditional gum treatment involves taking a scalpel to the gums, which can make people nervous. The laser doesn’t cause as much stress–we won’t even be touching your gums. 

Having less anxiety about laser gum surgery makes sense because the procedure causes less discomfort and less bleeding. It’s a much easier experience to go through than traditional gum treatments. 

Laser gum treatment is faster than traditional cutting. The laser works instantly with short pulses, allowing us to complete gum treatments faster. 

Laser gum treatment can be more effective than traditional gum treatments because the laser can also kill bacteria in the treated area. This can help your body heal and slow the return of gum disease.

Get Gum Disease Treatment in Naples & Ft. Myers, FL

Don’t let gum disease force you to lose your teeth. In addition to losing your teeth, untreated gum disease can also increase your risk of many cardiovascular problems. Our dentists at Massa Dental Center offer gum disease treatment and preventive dentistry for the whole family to help you treat your gum disease and prevent it in the future. We can also help repair all the damage caused by your untreated gum disease.

To book your next dental exam and cleaning, please contact our Naples dental office by calling (239) 597-7333 or by using our online contact form.