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What Is Gum (Periodontal) Disease

What Is Gum (Periodontal) Disease – Symptoms and Treatment

Are you wondering what is gum disease? Or perhaps you are wondering what is gum disease caused by? Then you are at the right place because at Wellness Dental Studio we not only treat gum disease but also teach our clients how to prevent it from happening.

So, first things first. What is gum disease called? Gum disease, actually known as periodontal disease, involves the inflammation and infection of the gums and the bone supporting your teeth.

This condition can result from poor oral hygiene, but some people are more susceptible due to genetic factors and other health conditions.

Obviously, understanding the symptoms, stages, and treatment options is crucial for maintaining oral health and preventing further complications.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease

What is gum disease look like? Periodontal disease presents a range of symptoms, which can vary in severity depending on the stage of the disease:

  • Reddish or purplish gums: Healthy gums are usually pink. When they become reddish or purplish, it indicates inflammation or infection.
  • Bleeding gums: Especially when brushing or flossing, bleeding gums are a sign of inflammation and are often an early indicator of gum disease.
  • Swollen and tender gums: Inflammation causes gums to swell and become sensitive to touch, indicating an ongoing infection.
  • Bad breath (halitosis): Persistent bad breath can result from bacterial buildup and infection in the gums.
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth: A constant bad taste can be caused by pus from gum infections.
  • Pain when chewing: Discomfort or pain while chewing can occur as the infection affects the supporting structures of the teeth.
  • Gum recession: Gums that pull away from your teeth expose the roots, making teeth look longer and increasing sensitivity.
  • Loose teeth: As the supporting bone and tissue are destroyed, teeth can become loose and unstable.
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together: Shifting teeth due to bone loss and gum recession can affect your bite alignment.

Stages of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease progresses through several stages, each with its own set of symptoms and potential complications. What is gum disease symptoms according to each stage?

1. Gingivitis


Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, characterised by red, puffy gums that may bleed when you brush or floss. At this stage, there is no bone loss, and the condition is reversible with proper dental care and improved oral hygiene.

2. Mild Periodontitis

Mild Periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis can advance to mild periodontitis. The bacteria infect the supporting bone, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where plaque and bacteria accumulate. Professional dental treatment is necessary at this stage.

3. Moderate Periodontitis

In this stage, the infection begins to erode the ligaments, soft tissues, and bone that hold your teeth in place. Symptoms may include bad breath, pus around the gum line, and increased pain. More intensive treatments are required to manage the disease.

4. Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage, with significant bone loss leading to loose teeth and potential tooth loss. Comprehensive periodontal treatments and possibly surgical interventions are needed to address the extensive damage.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

What is gum disease caused by? The primary cause of periodontal disease is the buildup of dental plaque, which harbours bacteria that infect the gums. Other contributing factors include:

  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases: Such as lupus, scleroderma, and Crohn’s disease
  • Hormonal changes: During puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
  • Stress
  • Genetics: Family history of gum disease
  • Heart disease

Diagnosis and Tests

Dentists diagnose periodontal disease through a combination of clinical examination and diagnostic tests:

  1. Checking for plaque buildup, bleeding, swelling, and pocket depths around the teeth.
  2. Measuring the depth of pockets around the teeth to determine the severity of the disease.
  3. Assessing bone loss around the teeth and monitoring changes over time.

Management and Treatment

Gum disease treatment involves various approaches depending on the severity of the condition:

1. Dental Cleaning and Improved Oral Hygiene

For early-stage gum disease (gingivitis), routine dental cleanings and enhanced oral hygiene can reverse the condition. Brushing two to three times a day, flossing daily, and regular dental visits are crucial.

2. Scaling and Root Planing

This deep cleaning procedure removes plaque and bacteria from beneath the gums, targeting areas that regular brushing and flossing can’t reach. It is recommended for mild to moderate gum disease.

3. Pocket Reduction Surgery

For moderate to advanced gum disease, pocket reduction surgery (osseous surgery) may be necessary. This involves making incisions in the gums to access and clean the tooth roots, followed by repositioning the gums.

4. LANAP (Laser-assisted New Attachment Procedure)

A less-invasive alternative to traditional surgery, LANAP uses a laser to target diseased tissue while preserving healthy tissue. It promotes faster healing and less discomfort.

5. Bone Grafting

To replace lost bone, a periodontist may perform bone grafting. This involves placing bone grafting material in areas of bone loss to stimulate new bone growth.

6. Gum Grafting

Gum grafting (tissue grafting) covers exposed tooth roots and increases gum thickness. Tissue can be sourced from the roof of the mouth or a tissue bank.

7. Guided Tissue Regeneration (GTR)

GTR involves placing a membrane between the gums and bone graft to prevent soft tissue from growing into the bone defect, allowing new bone to form.

8. Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF) and Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

These treatments use growth factors from your blood to enhance healing and tissue regeneration. PRF and PRP are applied to the surgical site to boost recovery and reduce post-surgical pain.


Preventing periodontal disease involves maintaining excellent oral hygiene and regular dental care:

  • Brush your teeth: Two to three times a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily: To remove plaque between teeth.
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash: To reduce bacteria.
  • Avoid smoking: And other tobacco products.
  • Visit your dentist regularly: For cleanings and check-ups.

Outlook and Prognosis

With early detection and appropriate treatment, the prognosis for periodontal disease is generally positive. While it is not curable, it is manageable with consistent dental care and proper hygiene practices. Delaying treatment can lead to severe oral and systemic health issues.

What Will Happen if You Don’t Treat Periodontal Disease?

Neglecting periodontal disease can lead to serious complications:

1. Advanced Gum Recession

Continued inflammation and infection erode gum tissue, exposing tooth roots and increasing sensitivity.

2. Increased Pocket Depths

Deepening pockets around teeth harbour more bacteria, perpetuating the infection cycle.

3. Bone Loss

The infection can destroy the jawbone, leading to loose teeth and tooth loss, with irreversible damage.

4. Tooth Loss

Weakened teeth due to bone and tissue loss can become loose and fall out, affecting chewing and aesthetics.

5. Systemic Health Issues

Bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream, contributing to cardiovascular disease, diabetes complications, respiratory infections, and pregnancy issues.

6. Chronic Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste

Persistent bad breath and an unpleasant taste affect social interactions and self-esteem.

7. Pain and Discomfort

Increased pain, especially when chewing, affects diet and nutrition.

8. Abscesses and Pus Formation

Abscesses can form, causing severe pain and swelling, requiring surgical drainage and antibiotics.


Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that requires timely intervention to prevent severe oral and systemic health issues. Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing the disease and maintaining a healthy mouth and body. If you experience any symptoms of gum disease, consult your dentist promptly to discuss the best treatment options for you.

Why Wellness Dental Studio?

Choosing the right dental care provider is essential for effective management of periodontal disease. At Wellness Dental Studio, our team is dedicated to providing personalised, comprehensive care tailored to your needs.

Using state-of-the-art technology and techniques, we offer a range of treatments to address gum disease at every stage. Our experienced dentists ensure a comfortable and stress-free experience, guiding you through every step, from diagnosis to aftercare.

Trust Wellness Dental Studio to help you achieve and maintain a healthy, confident smile.

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