Menu

Periodontitis (gum disease)

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxin, which damage the gums.

These bacteria may cause the gums to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. However, please be aware that with periodontal disease, bleeding, redness and swelling do not have to be present. Pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease. This disease damages the teeth, gum and jawbone of many patients living in the UK.

You may even be surprised at some of the facts about gum disease. For example did you know….?

  • Gum disease is extremely common and affects 3 out of every 4 adults over the age of 35 in the UK.
  • The main symptoms of gum disease are sore, bleeding gums during tooth brushing.
  • Gum disease, not tooth decay, is the biggest cause of tooth loss.
  • Only 60% of women in the UK aged 45 can claim to have all their own teeth.
  • Gum disease isn’t just something that happens later in life, more than half of teenagers have some form of gum disease.
  • Smoking causes 50% of all cases of gum disease in the UK.

Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation of the gum tissue, presence of disease-causing bacteria, and infection above and below the gum line. Infections and bacteria in the mouth can spread throughout the body and lead to a host of problematic health issues. Therefore, maintaining excellent oral hygiene and reducing the progression of periodontal disease through treatment will have benefits beyond preventing gum disease and bone loss. It can also save you from the chance of developing another serious condition.
Research has recently proven that there is a strong connection between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Periodontitis is not always painful and you may be unaware you have it.
Early symptoms (Gingivitis)
- red and swollen gums
- bleeding gums after brushing or flossing your teeth
Advanced symptoms (Periodontitis or periodontal disease)
- bad breath (halitosis)
- an unpleasant taste in your mouth
- loose teeth that can make eating difficult
- receding gums in between your teeth
- bad breath
- sensitive teeth
- gum abscesses (collections of pus that develop under your gums or teeth)
- bleeding swollen painful gums
- tooth loss

Most people can get mild gum disease but some people are susceptible to more severe and aggressive forms, these can run in families.
There are a few factors that put people at higher risk of getting severe gum disease. These mainly include:
- diabetes (especially if poorly controlled)
- smoking (possibly including e-cigarettes)
- stress
- poor diet lacking in vitamins and minerals
- obesity
- certain medications

If you smoke tobacco you should do your best to give up - there are plenty of organisations that can help. Smokers who continue to smoke:
- are more likely to get gum disease.
- may find their gum disease gets worse quite quickly
- are less likely to get better after treatment

- are more likely to have a recurrence of gum disease following treatment

According to the British Society of Periodontology, smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease.
Giving up smoking can greatly improve your oral hygiene. If you need help or advice about giving up smoking, call the free NHS Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044. Your GP can give you information and advice about giving up smoking. You can also visit NHS Smokefree.

What happens at the Early stages of treatment?
We will remove the ‘tartar’ (calculus) caused by bacteria from above the gum line by cleaning (scaling) the teeth. If the disease has already destroyed some of the support for your teeth we will also remove bacteria and calculus from under the gum and on the tooth surfaces (root surface cleaning).
Periodontal treatment is given over several appointments and the number of appointments you will need depends on how severe and widespread your disease is. Patients with more aggressive forms of gum disease may be asked to take short courses of antibiotics after treatment.
We will also teach you the best methods of cleaning your teeth and gums to remove the bacteria. Treatment will be most effective if you clean your teeth thoroughly on a daily basis. Eating less refined carbohydrate and stopping smoking will also help.
Some severe cases will require tooth removal and/or surgery

There are four types of periodontal surgery:
- Pocket reduction surgery - folds back the gum tissue and removes the bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where bacteria are sequestered. This allows the gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone.
- Regenerative procedures - these fold back the gum tissue and remove the bacteria. Membranes, bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage the ability to regenerate bone and tissue.
- Crown lengthening - is a procedure to remove excess gum and bone tissue to reshape and expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even the gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile. It is a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure. If the tooth is decayed or broken below the gum line, or has insufficient tooth structure for a restoration, it can be extracted and a bridge can be used.
- Soft tissue grafts - stop further dental problems and gum recession and improve the aesthetics of the gum line. Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where absent due to excessive gingival recession. Gum tissue from the palate or another donor source covers the exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth to even the gum line and reduce sensitivity. A soft tissue graft can reduce further recession and bone loss. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay. This may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve the aesthetics of the smile.

What are the risks?
- The gums occasionally feel sore after scaling but should feel better after a few days.
- Your teeth may become sensitive to hot, cold or sweet substances but usually this will
decrease within a few weeks.
- Sometimes you may need to use special toothpaste or have other treatment.

Are there any alternatives?
- No treatment: The result of not having treatment will depend on how severe your disease is. With no treatment the gum disease could get worse. Your teeth could become painful or you may lose your teeth sooner.
- Extractions: Removal (extraction) of teeth may be an acceptable alternative treatment if your gum disease is severe. This may mean you need replacement teeth such as a denture or bridge. Such treatment would routinely be provided by your own dentist. Some people find it easier and more enjoyable to eat with natural teeth than a denture.
Extractions would reduce the time spent treating your gums and an extraction would remove a painful tooth quickly. An extraction may also be a suitable option if teeth are loose. If your front teeth have a poor appearance a denture may look better.

What are the signs?

Periodontitis is not always painful and you may be unaware you have it.
Early symptoms (Gingivitis)
- red and swollen gums
- bleeding gums after brushing or flossing your teeth
Advanced symptoms (Periodontitis or periodontal disease)
- bad breath (halitosis)
- an unpleasant taste in your mouth
- loose teeth that can make eating difficult
- receding gums in between your teeth
- bad breath
- sensitive teeth
- gum abscesses (collections of pus that develop under your gums or teeth)
- bleeding swollen painful gums
- tooth loss

Who can get gum disease?

Most people can get mild gum disease but some people are susceptible to more severe and aggressive forms, these can run in families.
There are a few factors that put people at higher risk of getting severe gum disease. These mainly include:
- diabetes (especially if poorly controlled)
- smoking (possibly including e-cigarettes)
- stress
- poor diet lacking in vitamins and minerals
- obesity
- certain medications

Smokers

If you smoke tobacco you should do your best to give up - there are plenty of organisations that can help. Smokers who continue to smoke:
- are more likely to get gum disease.
- may find their gum disease gets worse quite quickly
- are less likely to get better after treatment

- are more likely to have a recurrence of gum disease following treatment

According to the British Society of Periodontology, smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease.
Giving up smoking can greatly improve your oral hygiene. If you need help or advice about giving up smoking, call the free NHS Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044. Your GP can give you information and advice about giving up smoking. You can also visit NHS Smokefree.

Treatment - No surgery

What happens at the Early stages of treatment?
We will remove the ‘tartar’ (calculus) caused by bacteria from above the gum line by cleaning (scaling) the teeth. If the disease has already destroyed some of the support for your teeth we will also remove bacteria and calculus from under the gum and on the tooth surfaces (root surface cleaning).
Periodontal treatment is given over several appointments and the number of appointments you will need depends on how severe and widespread your disease is. Patients with more aggressive forms of gum disease may be asked to take short courses of antibiotics after treatment.
We will also teach you the best methods of cleaning your teeth and gums to remove the bacteria. Treatment will be most effective if you clean your teeth thoroughly on a daily basis. Eating less refined carbohydrate and stopping smoking will also help.
Some severe cases will require tooth removal and/or surgery

Treatment requiring surgery

There are four types of periodontal surgery:
- Pocket reduction surgery - folds back the gum tissue and removes the bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where bacteria are sequestered. This allows the gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone.
- Regenerative procedures - these fold back the gum tissue and remove the bacteria. Membranes, bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage the ability to regenerate bone and tissue.
- Crown lengthening - is a procedure to remove excess gum and bone tissue to reshape and expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even the gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile. It is a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure. If the tooth is decayed or broken below the gum line, or has insufficient tooth structure for a restoration, it can be extracted and a bridge can be used.
- Soft tissue grafts - stop further dental problems and gum recession and improve the aesthetics of the gum line. Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where absent due to excessive gingival recession. Gum tissue from the palate or another donor source covers the exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth to even the gum line and reduce sensitivity. A soft tissue graft can reduce further recession and bone loss. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay. This may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve the aesthetics of the smile.

Treatment risks and alternatives

What are the risks?
- The gums occasionally feel sore after scaling but should feel better after a few days.
- Your teeth may become sensitive to hot, cold or sweet substances but usually this will
decrease within a few weeks.
- Sometimes you may need to use special toothpaste or have other treatment.

Are there any alternatives?
- No treatment: The result of not having treatment will depend on how severe your disease is. With no treatment the gum disease could get worse. Your teeth could become painful or you may lose your teeth sooner.
- Extractions: Removal (extraction) of teeth may be an acceptable alternative treatment if your gum disease is severe. This may mean you need replacement teeth such as a denture or bridge. Such treatment would routinely be provided by your own dentist. Some people find it easier and more enjoyable to eat with natural teeth than a denture.
Extractions would reduce the time spent treating your gums and an extraction would remove a painful tooth quickly. An extraction may also be a suitable option if teeth are loose. If your front teeth have a poor appearance a denture may look better.

Still have questions?


Book a consultation now for more information on how we can help you with Periodontitis (gum disease).

Book a Consultation

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

This website uses Google Analytics tracking cookies to monitor visitors to the website and how they use it. Read our Privacy Policy.

Close