Diagnosing gum disease

As has already been stated on this website, there can be no substitute for visiting a dentist or GP for a qualified opinion if you have any concerns about your oral health. However, there are some simple ways in which you can ascertain the likelihood that you have gum disease before visiting your dental surgery. Read on to learn more about diagnosing gum disease.

How do I know whether it is likely I have gum disease?

Firstly, let's refer back to some of the crucial symptoms of gum disease. These include swelling and redness of the gums, along with gum that start to bleed after brushing or flossing. Clearly these are the main symptoms to look out for and it is likely that you will be able to immediately spot any problems during your day-to-day brushing and flossing rituals.

If you believe you have these symptoms, or have any concerns, book an immediate appointment with your dentist. Now we will look at what steps the dentist is likely to take.

What steps will the dentist take to diagnose the problem?

Firstly, your dentist should be able to determine whether you have gum disease through the symptoms you're displaying. However, with the more advanced conditions of periodontitis Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG) there are some steps the dentist will undertake as part of the diagnosis.

Periodontitis necessitates a detailed dental examination and the mouth may be examined using a periodontal probe - this medical instrument is a thin silver stick that bends at one end. Here's how it works: the probe is placed beside the affected tooth and underneath the gum line. If teeth and gums are in a health state and attached accordingly, the probe will be unable to slip down too far below the gum line. If it does, then the patient may have periodontitis. If needed, an X-ray may be used to check the teeth and jaw bone to assess the extent of the problem.

With acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis, it is vital that the patient sees a dentist as soon as you can. If the problem is not detected early enough then it can cause distressing problems.

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