Gum disease, otherwise known as “periodontal disease”, is an inflammatory disease that affects both the soft and hard structures that support your teeth. According to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or “CDC”), over half of American adults aged 30 or over have gum disease at any given time. This means that 67 million people are currently suffering from periodontal disease. If you’re concerned that you may be one of these individuals, we have a professional periodontal team who can provide high quality gum disease treatment!

What Is Gum Disease?

As we have noted above, gum disease is an inflammatory disease that negatively impacts your teeth’s supporting structures. There are four stages to gum disease and the extent of treatment that you will require to rectify your dental problems will be determined by the stage you have reached so far. The four stages are gingivitis, mild periodontitis, moderate periodontitis and severe periodontitis.


Early stages of gum disease are often referred to as “gingivitis”. During this stage of gum disease, your gums will become inflamed, as your body attempts to fight off harmful bacteria that are living on the gums and teeth. This can result in swollen gums with a red appearance. If you do not tackle gingivitis, your gum disease will simply progress, reaching increasingly advanced stages.

Mild Periodontitis

If you are experiencing mild periodontitis, you will likely have had ongoing inflammation and potentially ongoing bad breath. You may notice that your gums begin to look a little different, or that they may have started to recede from around the tooth. Gum tissue affected will be around 4-5mm deep.

Moderate Periodontitis

Moderate periodontitis occurs when you leave mild periodontitis without treatment. You may be experiencing bleeding gums, infections and even bone loss in the affected area. A 6-7mm depth of your gums will be affected, which means your teeth may be feeling loose and uncomfortable.

Severe Periodontitis

Severe periodontitis is the worst stage of gum disease. You may have begun to lose bone tissue or even whole teeth. The entire shape of your face may change, as your jaw becomes worn away and because your teeth may shift into gaps left by lost teeth. More than 7mm of tissue will be damaged and there may be visible signs of gum infection.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Generally speaking, gum disease is caused by lack of proper dental care. Our mouths are naturally full of bacteria. When you eat sugary foods, you supply these bacteria with fuel and energy, causing them to thrive and create “plaque” on your teeth. This plaque wears the enamel on your teeth away and can impact the health of your gums too. There are also a range of other factors that can promote gum disease. These can include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal changes
  • Medications that lower levels of saliva
  • Genetic susceptibility

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Being aware of even the mildest symptoms of gum disease is a good way to notice the warning signs of problems developing, allowing you to seek help and rectify the issue as quickly as possible. This will minimize damage to both your gums and teeth. Common symptoms of gum disease can include:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gums

Officially Diagnosing Gum Disease

If you are concerned that you may be suffering from gum disease, contact us to schedule a consultation and our team will help to diagnose any conditions or problems that you may be suffering from. Our periodontist will largely rely on a visual assessment of your overall oral health. They will then chart the depths of the pockets between your teeth with a periodontal probe. This will help them to determine whether gum disease is present. This may be sufficient to determine a course of treatment, but in some cases, other tests can go above and beyond this basic assessment and help to sculpt a better course of treatment to suit your needs. This can involve assessing the inflammatory burden that is causing any signs of periodontal disease and surveying your genetic susceptibility to periodontal disease too.

Treating Gum Disease

If you are found to be experiencing gum disease, there’s a wide variety of gum disease treatment plans that we can implement to help return you to good oral health. Here are some of the most commonly used.

A Scale and Polish

A scale and polish forms part of most basic dental checkups. Gum disease is often caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. This plaque can be cleaned away with brushing, flossing and the use of mouthwash. However, when plaque is left for too long, it forms tartar, which cannot be brushed away. Instead, your hygienist will have to scale this away with specialist tools. Your teeth will then be polished to remove any marks or stains.

Root Planing

If your gum disease has reached further stages, you may require root planing, otherwise referred to as “debridement”. This is an in-depth clean beneath the gums that will remove bacteria from the roots of your teeth.

Periodontal Surgery

For severe cases of periodontitis, you may require periodontal surgery. This is a reshaping surgical procedure that aims to restore and regenerate the normal structure of your mouth, repairing damaged periodontal structures.

Avoiding Further Cases of Gum Disease

Once you have received treatment from us, the symptoms of gum disease that you have been experiencing should subside. However, if you continue to neglect your teeth, further cases may occur. This is why it is absolutely essential that you follow your periodontist’s advice following your gum disease treatment. Commonly advised steps to take can include:

  • Brushing thoroughly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing regularly to remove plaque build up between your teeth
  • Visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and routine cleaning
  • Quitting negative activity such as smoking
  • Reducing excessive sugar consumption

Contact us to schedule an appointment for treatment today!