Is gum disease painless?

Gum disease is often painless, especially in the beginning. That's why regular dental checkups and periodontal exams are so important. There are also many warning signs that can signal a problem.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist:
  • gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • red, swollen or tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • bad breath that doesn't go away
  • pus between the teeth and gums
  • loose or separating teeth
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures
Rita Medwid
Yes, in certain stages gum disease is painless. It has been called the 'silent killer' because you don't have many symptoms, and you need a dentist to tell you if you have it or not. With gum disease, your overall health is weakened, and you become more prone to strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, pancreatic cancer and weaken immunity. If you are pregnant, gum disease is bad for your newborn. There are stages, when the gums do bleed and ache. Hopefully, you will have your gums checked before any of these things happen to you. 
In most cases, gum disease is painless. Many of my patients are surprised when I diagnose them with gum disease because they have not had any pain or other noticeable symptoms. When gum disease becomes advanced, pain can occur if the gums swell or the teeth become loose.

Gum disease is usually painless until it's too late then it can be painful. In the initial stages of gum disease it will present itself as puffy gums that bleed easily but not necessarily painful. As the disease progresses and pockets get deeper - it begins to get more difficult to keep clean and there is a greater risk of having painful symptoms. If no treatment is sought after for the gum disease then eventually the teeth can get loose with time. Gum disease is preventable. Getting routine check-ups and cleanings can assure early diagnosis and prevention.

Most of the time gum disease is painless, people do not know they have it. The best way to make sure you don't have gum disease is to visit your dentist regularly, at least twice a year. If you have diabetes, your dentist may suggest more frequent visits. A dentist checks the state of your teeth and does close visual checks to determine if you have signs of gum inflammation or your gum line is receding. Tell him/her if you have red, inflamed, swollen, or painful gums.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.