Gum disease involves inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth - the gums and bone in particular.  The disease process is driven predominantly by plaque. When bacteria in plaque are in contact with the gums, this creates inflammation.  Sometimes this is noticed by patients as having red, puffy gums that may bleed when teeth are cleaned.

It is divided into:

  • Gingivitis: inflammation of the gums that is reversible in nature

  • Periodontitis: inflammation that involves loss of the supporting bone around teeth and is irreversible.

Treating gum disease really is a long term game. Damage to the gum and bone around teeth can be cumulative over time and can lead to the loss of teeth. Prevention of gum disease involves removal of the hard, calcified plaque (tartar) that builds up on teeth, and also daily removal of the ‘soft’ plaque that builds up at home. Although treatment of gum disease by removing plaque and tartar might sound simple, careful diagnosis and attention to detail are critical as many cases can go unnoticed if not addressed by a competent dentist.