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Periodontics/How bad is my gum disease ?


About 3 weeks ago my gums started bleeding when brushing, but not every time. I was studying for an examen so I couln't go to the dentist's right away. The bleeding eventually stopped, but my gums got swollen and red.
I saw my dentist last saturday and he said the issue wasn't so severe. Because I had work to do elsewhere, we agreed that we would start the treatment in 2 weeks time when I came back. Meanwhile, my gum problem changed: they aren't red and swollen anymore, but they started receding especially on the lower jaw (mostly the canine teeth).

I'm asking you how severe is this ? Should I schedule an appointment for next week or can I wait the entire two weeks ? Can I do anything else to stop this process in the meantime ?

Worth mentioning: I'm 22 and I'm diabetic, which makes me worry even more about my gum problem (even though I have very good blood glucose levels).

Thanks in advance !

Your gum disease is not bad and, in fact, it seems to be healing.

Bleeding from the gums is, as you know, a sign of gum disease. And so is redness and swelling, too. But these signs may occur even if the disease is just beginning and has not yet done any harm to the tooth supporting bone.

It appears that your disease started when the gums first started bleeding and now the situation is better. The gums don't bleed anymore (maybe you started brushing and flossing more carefully?). When the infection healed, the swelling went down, and therefore it appears now that the gums are receding.

In my view, your pictures show a quite healthy looking gum line. The shape and height of the gum line depends on the underlying bone and on the shape and position of the teeth. The gum line on your lower canine teeth is lower than on the other teeth since the canine teeth are located further out in the dental arch.

Gum recession does not occur if the gums are healthy. It only occurs as a result of infection or as a result of hard brushing on infected gums. To prevent your gums from receding in the future, the most important thing is to keep your teeth clean, to brush carefully and to floss every evening. If you see the slightest amount of bleeding, start cleaning even more carefully. Your diabetes makes this particularly important.

But don't worry. It seems that the infection is healing now. You can quite well wait the two weeks for your dental appointment.


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Marketta Hormia, DDS, PhD


I am a periodontist living and working in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, where I have my private dental practice. I am an international member of the American Academy of Periodontology. I have a Ph.D degree and a long background in research and teaching at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Turku, Finland. I function as an adjunct Professor at these Universities. I have also worked as a visiting scientist at the Scripps Clinic and research Foundation, la Jolla, CA. I can answer any question in the fields of dentistry and periodontics.


Private practitioner in Helsinki, Finland over 20 years. Former researcher and teacher at two Finnish Universities.

The Finnish Society of Dentists, Division of Periodontology, American academy of Periodontology

Over 30 scientific research articles published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals (can be found on PubMed)

D.D.S., Ph.D, Specialist in Periodontology. Adjunct Professor.

Awards and Honors
Visiting Scientist at the Scripps Research Foundation, San Diego, California, 1992-1994. NIH grant

Past/Present Clients
Dental patients, national and international. All kinds of dental, oral and temporomandibular joint problems

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