Various symptoms can indicate that you are suffering from a gum disease. The most common symptoms are bleeding gums, wobbly teeth, and shrinking gums.

Bleeding gums

Your gums should always look pink. If they start to look swollen, if they turn reddish in colour, and if they start to bleed – when you bite into food, when you brush your teeth (even gently), and maybe even spontaneously – the chances are you have some form of gum disease.

Wobbly teeth

If your teeth become “wobbly”, it’s a sign that gum disease has damaged the tissues that support them and help keep them in place. Usually this is a sign of advanced bone loss. As teeth loosen, they can move apart and ugly dark spaces can appear between them. These are symptoms of periodontitis. Treatment is required to prevent further damage. Left untreated, a wobbly tooth can become a lost tooth.

Shrinking gums

Another sign of gum disease is shrinking – or receding – gums, which have the effect of making teeth look longer. As gums recede, they begin to expose the roots of teeth, which are darker than the crown. Receding gums are often a sign of gum disease, but not always: they may be the result of brushing your teeth too vigorously. 

Possible prognosis and treatment advice

Symptoms such as swollen gums, reddened gums, and bleeding gums may indicate that you have gingivitis.

Bleeding gums (especially if they bleed easily or spontaneously), receding gums, wobbly teeth, and bad breath suggest that you may have the more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis. But note that bad breath and receding gums can be caused by other factors.

If the gums around your dental implants become inflamed, you may be suffering from peri-implant disease. This can take two forms: peri-implant mucositis (which affects the mucous membrane around the implant) and the more serious condition of peri-implantitis (where there is bone loss around the implant). 

In all cases, if you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Ask your dentist for a basic periodontal examination as part of your regular dental check-ups. If necessary, your dentist will refer you to a specialist known as a periodontist.

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