Tooth or gum disease is progressive and very often left undiagnosed and often we are unaware of it. We pick up signals, but there is often no pain so one might feel there is no real urgency to head to the clinic. When we finally dedicate time and effort to visit the dentist it is often too late.
Signs of tooth/gum disease
- Large holes in teeth: unfilled cavities keep growing and give symptoms of pain – however not always. Normally within a few years, the cavity would have reached the nerve of the tooth, requiring a root canal treatment.
- Colour of gums: Dark greyish border around teeth with bright red ulcerated gums with loss of the pink triangular gum in-between teeth. When left untreated for a long time, teeth often become mobile. Gum disease causes the bone to be lost and the gum follows suit exposing the roots, appearing longer. Teeth are also left more sensitive.
- Multiple missing teeth: Lack of concern for tooth loss lead to long term issues. Losing back teeth means you have to be more selective on your food due to not being able to chew properly. Remaining teeth often over-erupt or drift or space out leaving spaces and food traps. This leads to tooth movement. Common complaints concerning this include spaces in the front upper teeth.
- Halitosis: Although the cause of bad breath may come from the stomach or tongue it is more likely to be poor oral health and gum disease. It is necessary to visit the dentist twice a year for a routine scale and polish, but in some cases a more thorough scaling is required below the gum line. This is called periodontal treatment and it involves hand scaling and root planning.
- Mobile teeth: loss of bone and supporting tissue causes teeth to move. Of course, prior to replacing any lost tooth, the initial cause must be eliminated or at least stabilised and kept that way.