Gum Disease

What is Gum Disease?


Gum disease includes conditions affecting the tissues around teeth (Gingivitis and Periodontitis) and tissues around implants (Peri-implantitis). Some conditions are more severe than others.


Gum disease is typically caused by a bacterial infection from dental plaque. While these bacteria are normal inhabitants of the mouth, if they build up to a sufficient quantity (at or below the gum line) they activate the immune system which can cause irreversible loss of gum and bone.


The disease is modified and complicated by factors in the mouth, general health & lifestyle. It is also related to how an individual’s immune system reacts to these bacteria (this can be genetic).


Signs of gum disease can include; bleeding and/or swollen gums, abscesses, recession, bad breath, movement and/or loose teeth and tenderness on biting.


Gum disease can affect your nutrition, self-esteem and quality of life. This can lead to eventual loss of teeth or implants if not treated.


There is evidence that periodontitis can also contribute to many systemic diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, arthritis, cancers and lung infections.

What can you expect when you visit a Periodontist for the treatment of gum disease?

Most people are referred to a periodontist for the expert management of gum disease around teeth and implants. Without treatment there can be irreversible loss of bone, teeth and implants.


A comprehensive examination of the mouth and your health is needed to correctly diagnose the type of gum disease you have and any factors which contribute to the risk for disease & the healing of the gums.


A treatment plan is then tailored for each individual according to their level of disease and complicating risk factors.


Your treatment typically involves the control and/or the elimination of risk factors and the removal of the infection above and below the gum line. This treatment also facilitates your personal control of your oral health condition.

Surgical Treatment

The more severe the disease around teeth or dental implants, the greater the possible need for surgical treatment. This procedure can sometimes include an adjunctive application of a laser treatment, this is called LANAP™ when associated with teeth or LPIP™ when associated with implants.


After initial treatment, a personal maintenance care program is then tailored to monitor your mouth for recurrent gum disease and to keep your oral condition in a state of relative health. This is essential for the long-term control of disease, helping patients with periodontitis to keep more teeth and implants over time.

Subsequent Procedures

Once the gums are healthy, then reconstruction of lost tissue can be considered. Where feasible, this can involve the grafting of gum tissue, growing new bone and eventual regeneration of lost support around the teeth.

Implants may be considered at this time of improved structural integrity.