Signs You Need to Get Your Gums Checked

Gum disease and infection starts silently. It can severely impact our oral and overall health if left untreated and even cause dental emergencies. Our Edmonton dentists list signs of unhealthy gums and what to do about them in this post. 

Gum Problems

If your gums have ever felt sensitive, tender or sore, you understand how even minor issues or small injuries can cause much discomfort and soon begin to feel painful, potentially leading to a dental emergency. Many patients even experience gum infections, injury or disease that needs a dentist's attention as soon as possible to be resolved. 

Otherwise, these issues can develop into gingivitis, advanced periodontal disease and even tooth and bone loss. 

At Emergency Dental Clinics, our dentists can treat patients with a wide range of issues, including gum and mouth pain. Some patients come in with various concerns about their gums. They may ask, "How do I know if something's wrong with my gums?", "What do sick gums look like?" and more. We'll share some insights and answers in this post. 

Signs of Unhealthy Gums

When gums are injured, infected or otherwise damaged, you might see some telltale symptoms. 

Signs of infected or unhealthy gums include:

Gum Abscess

When a pocket of pus forms in the tissues of the gum, it can appear as a small red ball pushing out of the swollen gum. An abscess can result in the gums pulling away from the teeth. 

Sensitivity or Pain

Do you experience pain when your gums are touched? Perhaps your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold drinks, so much that you flinch when taking a sip. This common symptom of gum disease often accompanies shrinking gums. 

Loose or Shifting Teeth

Periodontal disease (advanced gum disease) can cause teeth to become loose or shift. By this time, it's likely that the disease has progressed to causing damage to both your gum tissue and jawbone. We strongly recommend seeking treatment right away, as this can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness and more. 

Chronic Bad Breath

While dry mouth, some meals and even certain medications can cause bad breath, this symptom can also point to early stage gum disease. Typically caused by plaque buildup on the tongue, bad breath can indicate that plaque and bacteria aren't being properly addressed. 

Receding Gums

If your teeth are starting to look longer than they used to, this can indicate gum recession. This occurs when the gums slowly and gradually pull away from the base of your teeth, causing aesthetic issues with your smile. It is also a common sign of gum disease. 

Bleeding & a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth

If you've noticed a metallic taste in your mouth, you may be tasting blood. This can indicate bleeding gums and an infection, even if you didn't see blood while brushing and flossing. 

Inflammation, Swelling or Redness 

Pink gums are healthy gums. If your gums are red and firm to the touch, or they are swollen or even painful to touch, these are often early warning signs of gingivitis. 

Unfortunately, signs of bad gums can sometimes be difficult to detect as they may not be painful. Instead, symptoms may come on gradually and quietly. 

That's why it's important to come to our Edmonton dental office as soon as possible if you notice any gum pain, as this can be caused by a variety of issues. 

What do unhealthy gums feel like?

If you're wondering, "What do sick gums look and feel like?", you're not alone. Inflammation, tenderness and swelling are all symptoms that we recommend having assessed by a dentist. Gum problems can also cause your gums to take on a dark red hue and feel too firm. 

You may also have excess saliva, which can indicate an unhealthy accumulation of bacteria due to gum disease. 

When should I get my gums checked?

If your gums look inflamed or feel painful, it's important to have a dentist check them and assess whether injury, disease or trauma might be the culprit. 

We also recommend maintaining your regular checkups with your dentist, who will conduct an overall exam of your teeth, gums and mouth to look for signs of gum disease, decay and other issues. This way, your dentist may be able to detect and treat any problems early. 

Treatment Options for Gum Pain

Signs of bad gums can crop up at any time. The sooner you're able to get to our dental office, the sooner we can assess, diagnose and treat the cause of your gum pain. Our  Edmonton dentists treat many common gum issues, such as disease, injury and infection. 


Gum disease treatment options depend on the type and severity of gum disease. Caught in its early stages, the dentist will recommend preventive therapy. More advanced forms of gum disease may require alternative treatment options and follow up with your dentist. 


The type of trauma will determine your options for treatment. In most cases, the wound will be cleaned and any debris scraped away. The dentist may provide antibiotics to help keep infection from setting in or sedatives to alleviate pain. Stitches may also be needed. 

Help for Gum & Soft Tissue Pain at Emergency Dental Clinics

If your gums feel sore or you suspect you have an infection, injury or gum disease, contact our Edmonton dental office as soon as possible, as this may be a dental emergency. 

After the initial treatment, your dentist will likely recommend maintaining a regular brushing and flossing routine. Make sure to brush and floss gently, and rinse your mouth out with warm salt water to calm any irritation. 

Do you suspect you may have gum disease or other issue? Contact our Edmonton dentists right away. We can examine your gums and recommend treatment options.

Have a dental emergency in Edmonton? We're here on weekends and after hours to help.

Dental emergencies always happen when you least expect them. Our friendly and experienced dental team is on call to assist you when you need us most.

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