Symptoms of Gum Disease and Treatment Options

Symptoms of Gum Disease and Treatment Options
Navid Rahmani Dentist New York, NY

Dr. Navid Rahmani is a top rated, best in class dental implants specialist in NYC. He passionate about ensuring his patients receive the best and most appropriate dental care in New York Dental Implants Center. He graduated Cum Laude from New York University before receiving his doctoral degree from Stony Brook School... more

Have you noticed some blood in the sink while brushing your teeth? Are you aware that it’s your 1st warning sign of a gum disease? A mild stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, and it will only infect your gums if you have it. When left untreated, this infection will travel underneath the gum line right into the bone. At this time, it becomes more severe and now your gum disease is called periodontitis.

Both periodontitis and gingivitis have proven to increase the risk of developing cancer, pneumonia, osteoporosis, heart disease, and diabetes. Early discovery of gum disease will be the best cure.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

There are many gum disease symptoms. The treatment for each symptom will work best if you discover and care for the problem before letting it get out of hand, or allow it to develop into a serious disease. 

Here are some of the symptoms you need to know about:

Swollen and red gums

This is the first sign of a problem. You will notice your gums are in need of attention if they swell and turn red. Gum diseases generally start along your gum line with inflammation. Your gums can become painful or feel tender. They will easily bleed during brushing or flossing.

Having bad breath

Because of your mouth being permanently moist and warm, it is ideal as a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria clings to the plaque on your teeth, then releases toxins which can irritate your teeth and gums, causing a foul smell. This can be a symptom indicating that you have a severe gum disease. With gingivitis, your breath may not change much.

Gums get smaller

If it seems that your teeth are getting longer, it is not because your teeth are growing -- it’s because your gums  are shrinking. The bone will start to collapse and the gums separate from your teeth forming pockets beneath. When your gums pull away from your teeth, it is called receding gums.

Sensitive teeth

Your teeth might tell you something if you find you have to flinch when you have a cold drink. Most of the time, this symptom can go together with shrinking gums and a gum disease. If you have receding gums, it means that your tooth’s sensitive part is exposed which is called dentin. This is why cold air and water causes your exposed teeth’s sensitivity.

Shifting or wiggly teeth

Lately, you might feel as if your smile has changed. This could be from gum disease attacking your jaw bones. The jaw bone holds your teeth in place. Gum disease causes them to move or loosen and can also be the reason that as you bite, your teeth won’t fit together. The main cause for this is periodontitis.

Gum Disease Treatment

The goal is to be able to control the infection. Your dentist needs to establish what part of the gums are affected and trace where the infection originates from in order to offer the right treatment.

Here are some of the treatments your dentist can perform.

Deep cleaning

This is the first treatment and involves an in-depth and careful cleaning of the gums. It’s different from an ordinary cleaning, where they normally clean only above your gum line. This will be a deep cleaning that goes beneath your gum line.

This procedure is normally called scaling. They scrape the tartar off from above, as well as below, the gum line. The dentist might also do a root planning, that will involve smoothing all the surfaces of your teeth’s roots. This treatment helps your gums  reattach to the teeth. Both of these treatments might take a couple of visits to your dentist.


You won’t find a magical cream or pill to cure your gum disease. Although, the dentist might prescribe specific medications that will accompany the treatment. These options may include antibiotic microspheres or an antiseptic chip.

These contain tiny particles, or a gel that is inserted into the pockets of your gum, which will gradually time-release the medication. It can help to reduce the pocket size and clear it from bacteria.

Antibiotic gel

After your dentist performs a deep cleaning process, you need to spread the gel onto your gum pockets in order to control infection.

Enzyme suppressant

This is a tablet that blocks specific enzymes present in the mouth that break down your gum tissues. This will be required after you have had a deep cleaning.

Oral antibiotics

These tablets or capsules could be prescribed in the case of an infection that is more serious.


If the deep cleaning treatment didn’t solve the issues, you might need a procedure that can go much deeper in order to repair it. The dentist can recommend one of the following:

A gum graft surgery – Your dentist will use some tissue collected from your palate or another area of the mouth. This is to cover any of your tooth’s roots that are exposed in order to stop decay or loss of bone. Additionally, it will also help with sensitive teeth.

Flap surgery – To reach tartar that is deep below the gum line, the dentist will lift your gums. Your gum will be stitched back into place to make it fit tightly around your tooth, and preventing any more tartar to form on your teeth.

The dentist might recommend that you use an antimicrobial mouthwash to swish around in your mouth and make it a part of your everyday routine of brushing to control any bacteria. If your gums are red, swollen or your breath has a smell, see your dentist so you can be sure that you don't have gum disease.