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Recognizing the Early Signs of Gum Disease

Many people are surprised to learn that two in five American adults are dealing with the same health condition. It’s gum disease. 

In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis usually doesn’t look or feel like a big deal. But if you let it go unchecked, it worsens into a condition called periodontitis. This form of gum disease impacts the soft tissue and bone that help to keep your teeth anchored. Eventually, you could be facing tooth loss. 

Fortunately, when you catch it early, gum disease is highly treatable. Sandi E. Silva, DDS, and our team are here to help at our office in Tustin, California. 

So, when should you visit our office for gum care? Let’s take a look. 

What early-stage gum disease looks and feels like

You might have already experienced gingivitis. With good oral health habits — namely, daily brushing and flossing — you can usually reverse early-stage gum disease at home.

Some signs that you need to ramp up your at-home oral health routine include gums that:

  • Are red
  • Bleed easily
  • Swell

If you still have these symptoms after a couple of weeks of diligent brushing and flossing, it’s time to make an appointment with Dr. Silva. The persistence of these gum disease indicators likely means that you have plaque below your gum line. In other words, you’ve progressed from gingivitis to periodontitis. 

Other symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Tender gums
  • Gum recession
  • Tooth sensitivity 
  • Bad breath

If you notice those gum changes, see Dr. Silva so she can help your gums heal. 

How to restore your gum health

During periodontal therapy, Dr. Silva removes the bacteria that make up plaque from above and below your gum line.

In many cases, that means scaling and root planing. During scaling, Dr. Silva uses specialized tools to get rid of not just plaque, but also tartar, the hardened version of plaque that your toothbrush can’t remove. 

After cleaning away all plaque and tartar from below your gum line, Dr. Silva planes the root of your tooth. This creates a smooth surface, making it easier for your gums to reattach to the tooth while making it harder for plaque and tartar to stick there. 

All told, if you’ve noticed early signs of gum disease, you can start by diligently brushing and flossing for a couple of weeks. But if you gums don’t improve — or if you notice symptoms of periodontitis — don’t wait to make an appointment with Dr. Silva. Call our office or book your appointment online today.

Sandi Silva, DDS