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Gum disease - how quickly can it develop?



Well-known member
Mar 7, 2018
I've never had issues with my gums, and had a checkup at the start of April where my dentist recorded a BPE score of 2. She specifically said I was doing a great job with tepe brushes. Exactly three weeks later, I had an appointment with a maxillo-facial specialist at the hospital due to ongoing pain in a front tooth and shadows around an x-ray (which turned out not to be there on the x-ray he took, so nothing to worry about). The specialist said I had gum disease round the tooth, and a pocket of 6mm.

My question is, how can this have developed so quickly? Or does the BPE exam only cover a handful of teeth? Do I need to worry about losing the tooth? I do have significant gum recession round the tooth caused by over-zealous brushing, which has been there for about 10 years. (I was advised to switch to an electric brush, and the dentist said it had stabilised on my next visit, and has never mentioned it again.)

I am seeing my own dentist on Thursday so will obviously ask her then, but am seeking reassurance more than anything.
That's really helpful, thanks. Going by that, a 6mm pocket is super-serious, and seems like quite a significant difference from what my dentist recorded. (I've been seeing her for years and she's not a new graduate or lacking in experience in any way.)
Just to update, I saw my own dentist yesterday. I told her about the 6mm pocket, and she was really shocked, so repeated the BPE exam. She found one 3mm pocket by my upper wisdom tooth, and nothing else, but actually got the hygienist in to do it too - she also found nothing bar the 3mm, and said my gums looked great.