What are the symptoms of gum disease?
Usually the first signs of gingivitis are:
- Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth or eat something hard like an apple
- Red and swollen gums
If your gingivitis has developed into periodontitis, you may also have:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Gum recession and sensitive teeth
- A wobbly tooth or teeth
- Gum abscesses (pus that collects under your gum)
The symptoms of acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) include:
- Very painful ulcers that bleed easily
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- A metallic taste in your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing or talking
- Having a lot of saliva in your mouth
- Feeling generally unwell – possibly with a high temperature (fever)
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist straight away. Find a Bupa Dental Care dentist near you and make an appointment.
How is gum disease treated?
The type of treatment you have will depend on how serious your gum disease is. The aim of treatment is to control any existing gum disease and prevent further problems.
You may be able to treat mild gum disease (gingivitis) with a daily brushing and flossing routine. Your dentist or hygienist will arrange regular check-ups with you to monitor the size of any pockets in your gums, as well as how easily your gums bleed, to make sure these get better over time.
If your dentist thinks you have periodontitis, they will use a periodontal probe to measure the depth of any gaps between your teeth and gums. They may check how easily your gums bleed and how much plaque and tartar you have on your teeth. You may also need to have X-rays to check the state of your teeth and jaw bone.
If you have more serious periodontitis, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist. This is a healthcare professional who specialises in treating periodontal diseases; we have many specialists throughout the Bupa Dental Care network.
Medicines for gum disease
Antibiotics aren’t usually prescribed for gingivitis or mild periodontitis. But if you have a very serious infection, your dentist may recommend a course of antibiotics.
Your hygienist may recommend an antiseptic mouthwash to help discourage the growth of bacteria, but a mouthwash can’t remove plaque that’s already built up on your teeth - this needs to be brushed off or removed by a hygienist.
If you have periodontitis or acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG), you may need treatment to remove plaque, tartar and damaged tooth covering. This is called root planing.
Your dentist or hygienist may use a local anaesthetic to make the root planing more comfortable. This will completely block the feeling from your gums.
Surgery for gum disease
If your gum disease is severe, and other treatments haven’t worked, you may need to have gum surgery. This may help to remove bacteria and repair your gums and bone. It may also improve how your teeth look and reduce any sensitivity.
For gum surgery, your dentist would probably refer you to a periodontist.
For more information on treatments for gum disease, contact your local Bupa Dental Care practice.
If you think you may have gum disease, you should seek advice from your dentist. Find your nearest Bupa Dental Care practice and book an appointment.
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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.