Gum Disease


Although gum disease is a very common condition, many people are often unaware they have it. Early signs and symptoms are easily missed or ignored, but it is important that we catch it during its early stages. If left to progress beyond that, it can cause more severe problems.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is caused by plaque (soft, white & sticky substance) that builds up daily on your teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can turn into hard tartar (calculus). Plaque and tartar cause gum infection (gingivitis), which shows as redness, swelling and soreness. If gum infection persists long enough it can start to break down the gum tissue and even the bone that supports the tooth. That is when we call it periodontitis.

Gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss after the age of 35. Over ½ of adults over the age of 35 are already in the early stages of gum disease.

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Soreness
  • Receding Gums
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth moving (becoming longer or spaces appearing between teeth)

If you have any of the above symptoms – contact us today and book an appointment.

Contact us today

The stages of gum disease

The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis, which is an infection of the collar of gum that surrounds the tooth. The gums become irritated, swollen and bleed easily. This stage of gum disease is easily treated by meticulous cleaning at home and by your dentist and/or oral hygienist.

If gingivitis is left untreated it can progress to periodontitis. Persistent gingivitis breaks the attachment between tooth and gum, allowing the infection to penetrate deeper and to erode the jawbone which supports the tooth. This leaves pockets that are too deep to clean. If left untreated, these pockets will deepen, more jawbone will be lost, and eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed. Despite the destructive nature of this process, there may only be mild symptoms, even at a later stage.

Like all chronic diseases, gum disease does not go away. It will not get better by itself. As the condition worsens, it is harder to treat successfully. That is why it is best to start treatment as soon as possible.

A periodontist can carry out regular maintenance appointments to keep the condition under control and prevent it from causing further damage on the gums and supporting bone.

Contact us today

How do periodontists treat gum disease?

Periodontists play a vital role in the comprehensive treatment of gum disease, offering specialised expertise in managing and addressing this prevalent oral health concern. Using a multifaceted approach, periodontists employ various advanced techniques to combat gum disease effectively.

Initial stages of treatment often involve thorough scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line and smooth the tooth roots. In more advanced cases, periodontists may perform surgical procedures such as flap surgery or pocket reduction to access and treat deeper areas affected by gum disease. Additionally, regenerative procedures, including bone and tissue grafts, may be utilised to stimulate the natural healing and rebuilding of damaged structures.

With a focus on personalised care and ongoing maintenance, periodontists strive to not only treat gum disease, but also to promote long-term gum health and preserve the integrity of the teeth and supporting structures. Regular check-ups with a periodontist are essential to monitor progress and ensure the effectiveness of the chosen treatment plan.

There are five stages in the successful treatment of periodontitis:

  1. Oral-hygiene instruction and advice

The aim of the oral-hygiene phase of treatment is to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth and thereby reduce the level of infection. Your periodontist will first explain the causes of periodontitis and give you clear instructions on how to keep your teeth and gums clean. You will be given advice on how to use different tools and techniques: for example, the most appropriate tooth-brushing technique and the correct use of interdental brushes, dental floss, and antiseptic mouthwashes. It is important to emphasise that co-operating with oral-hygiene practices is essential for a successful treatment outcome.

  1. Professional cleaning

The initial treatment involves scaling and root planing, a non-surgical deep cleaning procedure. During scaling, plaque and tartar are meticulously removed from above and below the gum line. Root planing smoothens the tooth roots to eliminate bacterial toxins and create a clean surface, promoting the reattachment of the gums to the teeth.

  1. Reassessment

After several weeks (usually 8-12), your periodontist will re-examine your teeth & gums to check how you have responded to treatment. A special instrument called a periodontal probe is used to record the depth of periodontal pockets and check for bleeding from the gums. If periodontal pockets greater than 3 mm are still present, further treatment options may be suggested, including corrective surgical therapy.

  1. Corrective surgical therapy

In cases where deep periodontal pockets persist after scaling and root planing, surgical interventions may be necessary. Pocket reduction surgery, also known as flap surgery, involves lifting the gums to access and clean areas below the gum line. This procedure helps eliminate pockets, reduce inflammation, and facilitate better gum attachment.

For patients who have experienced bone loss due to periodontitis, regenerative procedures may be recommended. This can involve bone grafts, tissue grafts, or membrane placement to stimulate the regeneration of lost structures. These procedures aim to restore the supportive framework around the teeth.

  1. Aftercare – Supportive periodontal therapy or periodontal maintenance

The final stage focuses on long-term maintenance to prevent the recurrence of periodontitis. Patients are educated on proper oral hygiene practices, including effective brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups. Periodontal maintenance appointments, which may include additional cleanings, are scheduled to monitor gum health, and address any emerging issues promptly.

Successful treatment of periodontitis requires a collaborative effort between the patient and the periodontist, emphasising not only the resolution of existing issues ,but also the establishment of a proactive approach to prevent future recurrence. Regular follow-up visits and consistent oral care practices are paramount in achieving and maintaining optimal periodontal health.

In summary, successful periodontal treatment requires your full co-operation in daily oral-hygiene practices and attendance at regular follow-up appointments. 80% of the success of treatment is in your hands.

Contact us today

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fix gum disease?

If you spot the signs of gum disease early enough and get the necessary treatment, then it is completely curable.

What is the best way to treat gum disease?

Prevention is the best way to deal with gum disease. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene and attending your dentist regularly should help to prevent the onset of gum disease.

However, if gingivitis (gum infection) or periodontitis (gum disease) has started due to bacterial plaque on the teeth not being sufficiently removed, you will need professional help.

With professional assessment and treatment, it is usually possible to completely stop the progression of periodontitis (gum disease).

Can gum disease be reversed?

In most cases, periodontitis cannot be reversed. However, under specific circumstances, lost gum and bone can be regrown with the aid of periodontal surgery.

How do dentists treat gum disease?

The type of treatment you require depends on how serious your gum disease is. The aim of treatment is to stop the infection and prevent the progression of the disease.

If your dentist suspects you have periodontitis.

  • First, they will use a periodontal probe to measure the depth of any gaps between your teeth and gums (pockets). They will check how much plaque and tartar you currently have on your teeth and if your gums bleed. X-rays may also be required to check the state of the bone around your teeth.
  • If the examination confirms that you suffer from gum infection (gingivitis) or gum disease (periodontitis), your dentist or oral hygienist will teach you how to clean your teeth & gums properly. Also, cleaning of your teeth will be required. This removes plaque and tartar, which are the causes of the infection. Local anaesthetic (injections to numb teeth & gums) may be used at this stage to help you feel more comfortable.
  • Antiseptic mouthwash may also be recommended by your dentist or oral hygienist. This is an additional help, but does not replace the need for meticulous home-care (cleaning your teeth and gums).
  • If this course of treatment does not stop your gum infection (gingivitis) or gum disease (periodontitis), or if it is suspected you have a more serious case, you may be referred to a periodontist for treatment.
Can you live a long life with gum disease?

Several studies have shown a link between periodontitis and other systemic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes. Research has suggested that gum disease (periodontitis) may contribute to the progression of these other diseases.

If your gum disease is not treated effectively, you will lose teeth and that will reduce your quality of life significantly.



Find out more



Find out more



Find out more



Find out more
the home of dedicated periodontal care in Surrey
Contact us today