Gum disease treatment

Gum disease is caused by germs (bacteria) that live in your mouth. The bacteria stick to your teeth, irritate your gums and make them bleed. If gum disease is not treated, it can destroy the gum and bone supporting your teeth.

Some people get more severe gum disease than others. This might be because they have diabetes or smoke, but some people are just more likely to have gum disease.

We treat gum disease by cleaning your teeth and gums. This helps control the bacteria that cause gum disease. This can be known as periodontal treatment. It can help with:

  • red and swollen gums
  • sore or bleeding gums
  • teeth feeling loose
  • how fresh your breath is

After treatment your gums will become healthier, helping you keep your teeth longer.

The improvements depend on how good your cleaning becomes and how severe your gum disease was to start with.

Preparing for gum disease treatment

Continue to take any medicines as normal.

Please make sure that you tell us about any problems with your health and about any medicines you are taking. Some medical conditions change the advice and information we need to give you.

If you smoke we recommend that you stop, as gum treatment works better for non-smokers.

If you'd like support to stop smoking, contact our stop smoking service . Phone 020 7188 0995 or email [email protected]

During gum disease treatment

We remove the tartar (calculus and plaque) caused by bacteria from above the gum line by cleaning your teeth.

If the disease has already destroyed some of the support for your teeth we also remove bacteria and calculus from under the gum. This involves the careful use of cleaning instruments on the tooth surfaces.

Periodontal treatment is given over several appointments. The number of appointments you need depends on how bad your gum disease is.

Pain during treatment

You might have some discomfort while we are cleaning your teeth. We might give you an injection of local anaesthetic to make your gum numb.

After gum disease treatment

People with more aggressive forms of gum disease might be asked to take antibiotics after treatment. This helps to prevent an infection.

We also teach you the best ways to clean your teeth and gums to remove the bacteria. Treatment will be most effective if you clean your teeth thoroughly every day.

As the gums become healthier they might ‘shrink’, and your teeth might seem longer. You might also notice spaces appearing between the teeth.

The gums sometimes feel sore after periodontal treatment but should feel better after a few days.

Your teeth might become sensitive to hot, cold or sweet foods or drinks, but usually gets better within a few weeks.

You might need to use special toothpaste, or have other treatment.

Follow-up appointments

We check how well your treatment has worked at a future appointment and we'll tell you if you need more treatment. This appointment will be organised before you leave hospital or sent to you by post.

Other treatment options

No treatment

The result of not having treatment will depend on how severe your gum disease is. With no treatment the gum disease could get worse. Your teeth might become painful, and you might lose your teeth sooner.

Extractions (removal) of some teeth

Removing teeth might be a treatment option if your gum disease is severe. This might mean you need replacement teeth, such as a denture or bridge. This treatment would usually be done by your own dentist.

Some people find it easier and more enjoyable to eat with natural teeth than a denture. If your front teeth have a poor appearance a denture might look better.

Extractions would reduce the time spent treating your gums now and in the future, and remove a painful tooth quickly. It is also a suitable option if your teeth are loose.

Resource number: 2849/VER4
Last reviewed: November 2020
Next review due: November 2023

Contact us

Phone: 020 7188 4941 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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