Periodontal disease

Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are infections that if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss, yet most people don’t experience pain with the condition – stressing the importance of regular dental check-ups.

The most common form of gingivitis is caused by plaque. Plaque is a collection of germs (bacteria), which grows around teeth. This collection of germs release toxins that lead to inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums or gingival tissues. It presents usually as a combination of redness, swelling, and bleeding on gentle probing of the gum tissue, however patients may see bleeding from brushing or cleaning in between teeth. The good news about plaque induced gingivitis is that it is reversible. Improving plaque control will result in the gingivitis subsiding, however it should be noted that if there are ledges on fillings and crowns, or malpositioned teeth, these may also need to be addressed to reduce the amount of plaque stagnating in these areas.

Peridontitis is inflammation of the gums and the bone around the teeth. The bacteria from plaque can cause the gum to lose it’s attachment to the teeth, forming pockets. As there is then space around the teeth, the same bacteria can progress further into the gum tissue and as they do this they releases toxins that cause further deeper pocket formation. These toxins and the progressing inflammation then lead to the bone around teeth resorbing and breaking down, and eventually tooth movement and loss can occur. Unfortunately, and this is an important difference between gingivitis and periodontitis, the bone loss that occurs is irreversible. Another important difference with gingivitis and periodontitis is that periodontitis can progress with very few signs or symptoms.

However, there are some common symptoms that patients can look out for:

  • Bleeding gums during brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Bad breath, bad taste
  • Loose and mobile teeth

It is rare for patients to experience pain from periodontal disease. Both gingivitis and periodontitis can be diagnosed by a dentist, and a basic periodontal examination  forms part of a patient’s routine examination. Further treatment may be needed and this will be discussed following screening for periodontal disease. Some patients may require referral to a dentist with a special interest in Periodontology or a specialist.

Although most periodontal disease is caused by plaque, there are also some other factors that can influence gum health, they are:

  • Tobacco smoking
  • Stress
  • Diabetes (and some other medical conditions)
  • Family history of gum disease problems
  • Pregnancy, puberty and some medications

If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, or would like to speak to someone about any of the information in this article, contact the Reception Team at Marshgate Dental Practice on 020 8332 1202.

By Nicholas McAulay BDS (Manchester) MJDF

The most common form of gingivitis is caused by plaque. Plaque is a collection of germs (bacteria),

which grows around teeth. This collection of germs release toxins that lead to inflammation of the

gums. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums or gingival tissues. It presents usually as a

combination of redness, swelling, and bleeding on gentle probing of the gum tissue, however

patients may see bleeding from brushing or cleaning in between teeth. The good news about plaque

induced gingivitis is that it is reversible. Improving plaque control will result in the gingivitis

subsiding, however it should be noted that if there are ledges on fillings and crowns, or

malpositioned teeth, these may also need to be addressed to reduce the amount of plaque stagnating

in these areas.

Peridontitis is inflammation of the gums and the bone around the teeth. The bacteria from plaque

can cause the gum to lose it’s attachment to the teeth, forming pockets. As there is then space

around the teeth, the same bacteria can progress further into the gum tissue and as they do this they

releases toxins that cause further deeper pocket formation. These toxins and the progressing

inflammation then lead to the bone around teeth resorbing and breaking down, and eventually tooth

movement and loss can occur. Unfortunately, and this is an important difference between gingivitis

and periodontitis, the bone loss that occurs is irreversible. Another important difference with

gingivitis and periodontitis is that periodontitis can progress with very few signs or symptoms.

However, there are some common symptoms that patients can look out for:

 Bleeding gums during brushing

 Red, swollen or tender gums

 Bad breath, bad taste

 Loose and mobile teeth

It is rare for patients to experience pain from periodontal disease.

Both gingivitis and periodontitis can be diagnosed by a dentist, and a basic periodontal examination

forms part of a patient’s routine examination. Further treatment may be needed and this will be

discussed following screening for periodontal disease. Some patients may require referral to a

dentist with a special interest in Periodontology or a specialist.

Although most periodontal disease is caused by plaque, there are also some other factors that can

influence gum health, they are:

 Tobacco smoking

 Stress

 Diabetes (and some other medical conditions)

 Family history of gum disease problems

 Pregnancy, puberty and some medications

If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, or would like to speak to someone about any

of the information in this article, cont