Lancaster Dental

Healthy Smiles for the Whole Family

Periodontal Disease – Causes and treatments

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is a serious gum infection that hurts the soft tissue around the gums. Plaque builds up on the teeth when you don’t brush and floss well enough. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria.

If you don’t get it treated, it can destroy the bone that holds your teeth in place.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Our mouths are full of bacteria that cause plaque build-up. Plaque is a sticky, clear film that can be removed when you brush and floss. Plaque that doesn’t get cleaned off can harden and turn into “tartar,” which can’t be cleaned by brushing. Tartar can spread below the gum line, which makes it difficult to clean the teeth. Only dentists or dental hygienists can remove tartar. 

Plaque and tartar cause inflammation around the tooth leading to periodontal disease. 

Risk Factors

Certain factors increase the risk for periodontal disease:

  • Smoking/ Tobacco Use
  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Systemic Diseases
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
  • Immuno-Deficiencies
  • Medications that cause dry mouth
  • Female hormonal changes

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Signs and symptoms of periodontitis can include:

  • Swollen red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Loose teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • New spaces developing between your teeth
  • Gum Recession
  • Sensitive teeth

Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease

Signs and symptoms of periodontitis can include:

Dental checkups include examining your gums and noting any signs of inflammation. X-rays are also important to determine whether there is any bone loss.

A dentist or dental hygienist will examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation at your dental checkup. Furthermore, they will use a probe to check for and measure any pockets around the teeth. These pockets are usually between one and three millimetres deep in a healthy mouth. In most cases, this test does not cause any pain. 

Most importantly, they’ll ask about your medical history to determine any risk factors (such as smoking or diabetes) that might contribute to gum disease.


Preventing or controlling periodontal diseases requires:

1. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

2. Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth. 

3. Keep up with regular dental checkups twice a year or more frequently if you have any of the risk factors.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

The main goal of the treatment is to control the infection. Depending on the severity of the gum disease, there are different types and numbers of treatments. Your dentist can determine which treatment is most effective in your case to save your gum tissue and teeth. 

Periodontal therapy may include surgical and non-surgical techniques to repair the gums’ health. Severe forms of periodontists can also be successfully treated, but it may require a longer treatment course. Scaling and root planning are deep-cleaning treatment techniques. 

In addition, if an infection is found in the gums, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics. Furthermore, other medications can also be used to treat periodontists, such as topical antibiotic gel, antiseptic chips, antimicrobial mouthwash or enzyme suppressants.

In some cases, the treatment plan can include corrective surgery such as Gum Grafting, Plastic Surgery, or Laser Treatment.

The patient must maintain good daily care at home during any treatment. 

Your dentist may also recommend changing some of your behaviour, such as smoking, for the best results.


When gum disease is treated early, the outlook can be good. If you think you have any of the previous symptoms, book your dental appointment right away. Depending on the severity of gingivitis, you may be able to treat it before your gums recede.