1430 West Baddour Parkway Lebanon, TN 37087 www.mylebanontndentist.com

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How do I know if I have gum disease?

There are two distinct types of gum disease. The first affects only the soft tissue, or pink gums. The other is affects both the soft tissue and the hard tissue, or bone that the tooth sets in. It is impossible to correctly diagnose which one you may have without your dentist examining your gums visually, with x-rays, and measuring your gums around your teeth.

Let's talk about the first one:


This inflammation of the gums caused by plaque. The gums are tender, red, puffy, and bleed easily. This can starts as early as a few days if an area is neglected. The good news is that removing the plaque will allow resolution in just another few days. 

Here is a patient showing healthy gums on the top, but the gums around the bottom teeth have gingivitis. This is a subtle example but shows how different areas of the mouth can be healthy or diseased.

Periodontal Disease

You've heard the saying "long in the tooth?" Well this is it. Periodontal disease is inflammation of the gums has led to loss of the bone that the tooth sets in. Just like bone can be damaged and people need knee, hip or shoulder surgery; the bone in the mouth can be damaged. It occurs when gingivitis progresses unchecked and is influenced by the patient's genes (family history), systemic diseases (diabetes), or habits (all types of tobacco). 

This patient had already lost their top teeth due to mobility. Gum disease is second only to decay for causing loss of teeth and as many as 60% of Americans have it. Most of which are undiagnosed and not getting proper treatment.


The treatment of each of these conditions is different and you should see your dentist to determine what may be right for you.

Dr. Derrick Gregory is a dentist in Lebanon, TN. His practice, Gregory Dental Group, is a patient centered practice that provides care for the whole family offering the best and newest treatments for various types of patients.