Gum Disease

Gum disease is also called gingivitis.

By Brandie Umar, Executive Director of ContentLast modified: November 29, 2011

/ Gums

Gum Disease Defined

The health of your gums is vital to keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Your gums provide a protective layer around teeth, strengthening teeth and holding them in place. During regular dental checks, your gums will be examined for any signs of gum disease to ensure your oral health is maintained. Warning signs of periodontal gum disease are sore, bleeding gums that appear inflamed. If your gums cause pain, are swollen or bleed you should visit a dental clinic as soon as possible.


Symptoms Of Gum Disease

Inflammation of the gums or gingivitis is a common problem caused by too much bacteria. The main symptom of gingivitis is bleeding of the gums, especially when you are brushing your teeth. If inflamed, swollen gums are treated early the problem is reversible and regular flossing and brushing your teeth can prevent gingivitis from reoccurring.

If you do not treat gingivitis, it can develop into a more serious form of gum disease (periodontitis) that can lead to  extremely painful swollen gums that bleed, tooth decay and even tooth loss requiring reconstructive dental work. Gingivitis is one of the most common causes of bad breath.

As we age, gums lose some of their vitality and can start to recede. Receding gums (gingival recession) can alter the appearance of your mouth and your teeth. 

Gum Disease Treatments

The rapid spread of gingivitis is known as Aggressive Periodontitis and causes the gum 'pockets' holding the teeth in place to expand, allowing bacteria to settle into the gum. Aggressive Periodontis can lead to tooth loss if left untreated as the bone will decay.

Developing slower than Agressive Periodontitis but causing the bone to degrade and the tissue supporting teeth to become infected, Chronic Periodontitis is the most common form of advanced gum disease.

The most serious type of gum disease is Necrotizing Periodontal Disease which causes the gingival tissue supporting the teeth to die. Necrosis (death) of the ligaments and bone surrounding the teeth can also occur from this form of gum disease.

The intensity of the treatment required to improve the symptoms of gum disease depends on the severity and advancement of the periodontis.

Pocket Reduction Surgery allows dentists to lift the gum tissue to remove any infection and bacteria from underneath the gum. If the periodontitis has begun to attack the bone, dentists will recontour the jawbone (gum recontouring) before securing the gum tissue back in place.

If your gums have started receding because of disease, soft tissue grafts can be used to replace this missing tissue and prevent the gums receding further which can lead to tooth loss.

Severe gum disease can cause bone loss. Dental surgeons can replace this bone either using a bone graft, allowing bone to be taken from another area of your body or synthetic bone to be used to replace any decomposed jawbone, or may use a treatment called guided tissue regeneration which encourages your bone to regrow by making your body believe a new tooth is growing.

Cost Of Gum Disease Treatments

The price of treatment for gum disease depends on the severity of the disease and whether you need additional dental treatment to repair or replace teeth damaged or lost as a result of the gum problems.

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This article was written by the medical research team at does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor.
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