Gum disease

Diagnosing Gum Disease

My gums bleed, my breath smells and my teeth are loose. What should I do?

Have any of these scenarios happened to you?

  • You are brushing one morning and suddenly notice that your gums are bleeding. You are concerned, but dismiss it as “I probably brushed too hard.”

  • The same thing happens repeatedly every time you brush your teeth, even after you have tried to not brush hard.

  • You have a date or a night out with friends and you constantly find that your breath smells.

  • Brushing a few times and mouthwash will not take away that smell.

  • Over a period of time you notice your front teeth are slowly drifting and forming gaps between your teeth.

  • When you smile, you see greenish yellow deposits on your teeth that cannot be removed by brushing.

These are all very concerning signs and likely indicate that you have gum disease.  Other signs of gum disease include red, swollen gums, pus from teeth, and a dull ache or throbbing around the gums.  At this time, you should make it a priority to visit your dentist to get evaluated for gum disease.

What will my dentist do to diagnose gum disease?

Diagnosis of gum disease is done in a series of steps, all of which are done in one appointment:

  • At the dentist’s office, discuss your symptoms of bleeding gums, bad breath, and/or drifting teeth.

  • Dr. Shah will first evaluate your gums and teeth – looking for red swollen gums, greenish yellow deposits on teeth, or areas of gums where pus is discharging.

  • She will then check all your teeth with a special instrument, which will measure how far your gums have been pulled away from your teeth. This test also helps evaluate each tooth for bleeding.

  • An x-ray series of your teeth will be taken – Dr. Shah will read your X-rays with you and let you know if she sees bone loss, which will confirm the diagnosis of gum disease.

If you want to learn more about the causes of gum disease, watch the short video below or visit our Gum Disease Treatment page.

Call Dental Smiles of West Loop at (312) 724-7161 or email us at and let Dr. Shah know of any symptoms you might be facing.