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Gum Disease Fact Sheet

Periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease)

Every comprehensive examination includes an examination of your gums. This helps us to differentiate whether you have gingivitis (inflammation of the gingiva/gums) or periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontium).

  • What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
  • Bleeding, swollen and or red gums
  • Receeding gums or teeth are getting longer
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Gaps/spaces developing between teeth

What causes periodontitis

A combination of :

  1. Presence of plaque (an accumulation of bacteria)
  2. Being genetically susceptible

Periodontal disease can progress faster if you are a:

  • Smoker – this is relative to the number of cigarettes consumed per day and for how many years.
  • Diabetic – the better your blood sugar level control, the less impact this has on your gums. The condition of your periodontal disease can also impact your blood sugar level.
Normal Tooth Vs Periodontal disease

I have no pain, how did this happen?

When you have a build up of plaque and tartar (calcified deposits of plaque) around your teeth, the gums around the
teeth become inflammed.
This chronic process of inflammation can the development of deep pockets which then allow for more plaque and
tartar to accumulate under the gums. This inflammation can result in the loss of bone and ligaments around the tooth,
undermining the support (periodontium) of the tooth. In advanced cases of periodontitis, the teeth become loose.



Just with all disease, it is better to prevent and treat early. We aim to control the periodontal disease and by doing so, will stop or slow the progression of the periodontal disease.
We treat the periodontal disease by removing the cause – the plaque and tartar. Since the tartar and plaque are hidden underneath the gums, then deep cleaning (periodontal cleaning) is required.
Following a course of periodontal treatment, then we will review the health of your gums 4-6 weeks later. By measuring the depth of the pockets around the teeth (periodontal charting), we are able to monitor any changes over time.

Most importantly, since build up of plaque and tartar is inevitable, regular maintenance visits and good home oral hygiene are required to control the progression of the disease.
After treatment you can expect…

  • Reduction in bleeding
  • Tightening of the gums around the teeth – you may notice gaps or slight gum recession
  • Sensitivity – usually resolves over time
  • Tenderness of gums

Frequently Asked Questions

I brush twice a day, but why do my gums bleed?
Bleeding gums usually are a sign of unhealthy gums. When plaque is not removed, your gums become inflamed as a response to the bacterial build up. Many of my patients who come to Bright-On Bay Dental have not been shown the correct brushing or flossing techniques. Once shown, we usually see an improvement in their gums within days. The professional cleans are important, however, the daily brushing to reduce plaque is equally important!
My gums are not painful, how can I have gum disease?
Gum disease is a chronic disease and often is not painful. By the time teeth become loose, it is too late for treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial and that is why we routinely check the health of our patient’s gums.
I get two free cleans per year with my health fund, why do I have to pay the gap?
We accept the benefits from all health funds, but we are not a preferred provider for any health fund. Despite this, we have many long term patients from Medibank private, BUPA, HCF, NIB, etc who choose to stay with us because of the exceptionally meticulous cleans and the continuous care that is provided by Dr Janice and her team here.