5 Signs You May Have Gum Disease and Need a Periodontist

Gum disease – which is commonly referred to by periodontist specialists as “periodontal disease” – detrimentally impacts approximately 80% of all adults in the United States alone, according to the College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University. The diseases that negatively affect individuals range from a simple inflammation of the gum tissue within the mouth to major damage involving the bones that support the teeth and the soft tissue throughout the mouth. Naturally, gum disease is an immense threat to one’s oral health; however, in recent years, it has been established that this problem could extend past the mouth – possibly having a connection to more complicated health issues such as clogged arteries, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and potentially deadly respiratory issues. By learning about gum disease today, you have the ability to experience many more healthy tomorrows. In this brief guide, you will learn the 5 signs that you may have gum disease and need a periodontist.

Gum Disease – A Brief Overview

Before delving into the signs that you may have gum disease, we feel it is first important to provide a brief overview of the condition. As mentioned previously, the official name for gum disease is “periodontal disease”. Let us start by breaking down the word “periodontal”; “peri” translates to the word “around” and “odontal” means “teeth”. In breaking it down in this manner, “periodontal” means “diseases caused by infections of the regions around the teeth”. These areas consist of the gums, the cementum, the periodontal ligament, as well as the alveolar bone. The reason why most refer to this condition as “gum disease” is because in the earliest stage of the issue, the infection is only present in and around the gums. Without the proper treatment and care, the issue has the potential to quickly spread to all of the remaining oral health tissues and may lead to body-wide health problems.

The Causes

Ultimately, the cause of gum disease – according to periodontist professionals – is the bacteria that is commonly found in plaque. The plaque in the mouth is a sticky substance that quickly forms on the teeth in between brushings. Cells that originate within the body’s immune system release products that fight the bacteria contained within the plaque. As a result of these products, inflammation and varying degrees of damage then detrimentally impact the gums and – possibly – the surrounding tissues and bones. As inflammation occurs, the gum experiences a form of detachment from the teeth in which it protects. A type of pocket is then formed where more plaque may develop. This worsens the condition. In addition to these causes, the following could play a role in the development of gum disease:

  • Genetic Disposition
  • Hormonal Changes and/or Imbalances
  • Medical Conditions – Such as Diabetes, Cancer, and/or AIDS
  • High Stress Levels
  • Smoking
  • Drug Use
  • Medications
  • Poor Oral Hygiene

5 Signs That Indicate a Problem

Now that you know the basics of gum disease and the causes of the condition, it is time to learn the 5 signs that you have a problem and it is time for a periodontist:

  1. The very first – and most obvious – sign that you may have developed gum disease is pain in the mouth. This is commonly caused by the inflammation that is occurring in the gum region. The pain may accompany tenderness in the gum and obvious swelling around the bottom region of the teeth, in the soft tissue area.
  2. Most individuals that develop gum disease will experiencing some degree of bleeding while eating foods that are hard, brushing their teeth, and/or during flossing. In fact, many of the periodontist specialists claim that this is the most common – yet overlooked – sign of the disease.
  3. The inflammation and accumulation of plaque on and around the teeth could result in physiological and structure-based changes. Examples include a receding gum line, the teeth appearing to look longer, the teeth becoming separated, and even the loosening of teeth. Additionally, changes in the way that the teeth come together when biting and/or chewing could all reflect the onset of gum disease.
  4. Due to the increase of bacteria in the mouth and the development of infection, the breath may start to smell. In fact, this bad breath could become persistent. If you notice this sign, it is time for a periodontist.
  5. Finally, if the teeth become sensitive and it becomes painful to chew, you may be suffering from gum disease.


There are several types of gum disease. The mildest form is called “gingivitis”. This is reversible with proper oral hygiene and professional treatment with a periodontist. If left untreated, gingivitis then transforms into periodontitis. There are several forms of this form of gum disease. Examples include aggressive periodontitis, chronic periodontitis, periodontitis in conjunction with a systemic disease – such as heart disease – and, finally, necrotizing periodontitis. If you are ready to prevent and/or overcome the challenges of gum disease, you may contact us here at the office of Implant & Perio Centers of Kansas by calling: 316-683-2525.

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