Periodontal disease can be an insidious disease in that often it will be present and one will not know. However, the following signs or symptoms can be present and are an indicator that you may have a periodontal disease: 1) gums that bleed spontaneously or during brushing, 2) red, swollen, or tender gums, 3) gums that have receded from the teeth, 4) persistent halitosis/bad breath, 5) pus between the teeth and gums sometimes creating a bad taste or odor, 6) loose teeth, 7) teeth that have migrated or changed positions, and 8) a change in your occlusion/bite. Certainly, should you have any of the above signs or symptoms we recommend that you see a periodontist for a periodontal exam.
Quite often, your general dentist will detect one of these problems and will make the referral. During a periodontal exam, it is expected that a probe will be placed around each tooth in six areas to make a proper diagnosis. If the pocket depths are deeper than normal, then your dentist will make a referral to the periodontist.
There is research showing that periodontal disease may be linked to heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, or diabetes. Some of the bacteria/germs which have been found in the periodontal pockets around the teeth have been associated with these other problems. Research has shown that these bacteria can enter into the blood stream and possibly create a threat to other parts of the body. In fact, for example, if an individual has a moderate to severe periodontitis, it has been shown that that individual has a two to three times greater chance of having a heart attack or stroke than the individual who does not have periodontal disease.
Also, if you are missing teeth or currently have a partial denture or full dentures and you are not satisfied with your current tooth replacement, you may be interested in pursuing dental implants.
Some individuals have a very high smile line and sometimes the teeth appear to be too short or your smile is too "gummy". In those circumstances, a simple surgical correction may improve the cosmetics and thus improve your smile.
Additionally, if you have recession with exposed root surfaces, you may need to have gum grafting performed in order to cover the roots or possibly prevent further recession and eventual loss of teeth.