top of page

Gum Disease

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues (gum, ligament and bone) that surround and support your teeth. 

The cause of gum disease is plaque and bacteria that spread and grow underneath the gums. 

This results in breakdown of the attachment of the tooth to the gum and jaw bone, leading to the formation of a space between the gum and the tooth called a periodontal pocket.

If left untreated, gum disease can ultimately lead to the loosening and potential loss of teeth.


As a qualified  Periodontist in Pretoria, Dr Kotze has special training in detecting and measuring the extent of the periodontal pocketing.

Do I have gum disease?

Signs and symptoms:

  • Gums that bleed during and after brushing your teeth

  • Red, swollen and tender gums

  • Persistent bad breath and or taste

  • Receding gums or longer looking teeth

  • Loose or shifting teeth

  • Changes in the way teeth fit together when biting down

Gum disease may progress without notice and produce few obvious signs and symptoms even in late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms in periodontal disease may be very subtle, the condition is not entirely without warning signs and symptoms, like the ones listed above.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease resulting in irritation, redness, swelling and bleeding of your gums (gingiva). This should be taken seriously and treated promptly, as if left untreated may progress to a more serious form called periodontitis.

Treatment of gum disease

The most common cause of gingivitis and periodontitis is inadequate oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, and getting regular dental check-ups, can help prevent gingivitis and periodontitis.

The goal of treatment is to thoroughly clean and disinfect the tooth surfaces. Although our professional treatment is the starting point, immaculate home care daily, as well as management of systemic conditions and lifestyle habits (like smoking) are essential for treatment success.

Gum disease is a lifelong diagnosis that needs to be managed and maintained.

Treatment is thus not once off, and requires regular monitoring and maintenance to prevent tooth loss.

Treatment modalities for the management of gum disease:

Nonsurgical instrumentation

This is a thorough cleaning of the tooth and root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) buildup above and below the gums.

Surgical treatment

There are two main reasons for performing surgical treatment for gum disease, namely in cases where the non-surgical treatment proved to be inadequate for disease resolution and secondly in cases where the bone surrounding the teeth needs to be built up to save the teeth. During this procedure, we make tiny incisions into your gum and lift a section of gum tissue, exposing the roots for more effective access for instrumentation. Since periodontitis often causes bone loss, it may be necessary to recontour and build up the underlying bone before the gum tissue is put back in place. After healing, it will be easier to clean these areas and maintain healthy gums.

Why do I need treatment?

Gum disease, especially periodontitis results in tooth loss if untreated. It is also known to have effects on your systemic health as the areas around your teeth is gateway to the rest of your body. Periodontitis may influence your systemic health and the control of some systemic conditions like diabetes, blood pressure, pregnancy, lung infection and Alzheimers. Diabetes and smoking may also increase your risk to develop periodontitis.

If you are experiencing swollen, painful, red or bleeding gums, contact Periodontists on Atterbury as soon as possible. An assessment to determine if you have periodontal disease will be done and you will then be provided with a personalised treatment plan that will restore your gums and teeth to a healthy condition.

bottom of page