Severe periodontal disease has symptoms such as tooth loss, abscesses and gum bleeding, notes Family Gentle Dental Care. Symptoms of oral cancer include a lump in the soft mouth tissue, trouble swallowing, ear pain, tongue numbness and difficulty chewing, explains the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Patients with severe periodontal disease may also exhibit symptoms such as gum pockets measuring 8 or more millimeters in depth, mobile teeth, bad breath and advanced bone loss, states Family Gentle Dental Care. Periodontal disease in the advanced and severe stages requires surgical treatment to stop the disease progression. The surgical protocol varies by patient, but in general, it involves pulling the gums away from the teeth and bones, so the oral surgeon can remove diseased portions of the root surfaces. The surgeon contours the remaining bone and performs bone grafting or guided tissue regeneration in an attempt to stimulate bone regrowth.
White mouth lesions, called leukoplakia, and red lesions, called erythroplakia, are sometimes precursors to oral cancer, explains the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Erythroplakia, while less common than leukoplakia, are more likely to turn into cancer. Patients with leukoplakia or erythroplakia that do not heal on their own within two weeks should visit a health care professional for evaluation and possible cancer screening.