What Are the Different Periodontal Disease Symptoms?

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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2018
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There is a variety of periodontal disease symptoms. Periodontal disease is a collection of conditions that affect the tissues that anchor teeth into the jaw. Thus, symptoms range from bad breath to loose teeth. In many cases the initial periodontal disease symptoms are so mild that the disease is first diagnosed during a biannual cleaning rather than the patient seeing his or her dentist because of symptoms. The severity of one's symptoms is an indicator of the degree of treatment necessary to correct the periodontal disease.

The wide range of periodontal disease symptoms is due to the fact that periodontal disease is a collection of several conditions. Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, is the most well known and least harmful. Without treatment, though, gingivitis can become periodontitis, a condition that causes permanent tissue damage. Symptoms worsen without treatment. No matter the stage of the disease, one should not ignore periodontal disease symptoms.

As most cases of periodontal disease begin as gingivitis, gingivitis symptoms appear first. These symptoms include swelling and redness of the gums along with bleeding that occurs after brushing. An individual experiences bad breath and recession of the gum line as the disease moves into its next stage, chronic periodontitis. In periodontitis that occurs due to bad oral hygiene, the destruction of tissue is a slow process that may go initially unnoticed. If there is another cause, though, periodontal disease symptoms can develop much faster.


If symptoms appear quickly, periodontitis may not be due to a lapse in oral hygiene. In many diseases ranging from leukemia to Crohn's disease, periodontitis can manifest extremely quickly even if a patient has maintained good oral health. The mouth becomes a target as many diseases impair the immune system and stop the body's ability to defend against the plaque-forming bacteria. If a physician diagnoses one of these immune system-affecting disorders, he or she will create a tailored hygiene plan so the patient does not experience these degenerative effects.

Treating periodontal disease symptoms always depends on treating the underlying disease. After the patient describes his or her symptoms, the dentist will perform a visual inspection of the infected area(s). X-rays may be necessary to determine the degree of tissue damage. If a dentist catches the disease in its early stage, gingivitis, a prescription mouthwash and instruction on better oral hygiene may be the only treatment necessary. When the disease has loosened teeth, however, an oral surgeon becomes necessary to repair the damage.



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